Species profile: Utricularia albiflora

Species profile: Utricularia albiflora

Utricularia albiflora is an extremely elusive bladderwort known only from Cape York, Australia. It was first collected by Banks in 1770, on Cook’s first voyage to Australia after which it was not definitively seen for over 200 years until Jobson rediscovered it in 2012.

Utricularia albiflora is a small plant, with flowers roughly half a centimetre across and standing about 2cm tall. As its name suggests, the flowers are white with a yellow palate. The lower corolla lip is skirt-shaped and shallowly divided into three main lobes, sometimes with a jagged edge. The upper corolla lip is deeply notched at the center. The peduncle is distinctively thick and fleshy.

U. albiflora grows in Cape York, NE Australia where it inhabits sandy swamps. The plants grow in the substrate as an aquatic under a few cm of water, as well as terrestrially around the edges of the swamp. I found the plants blooming in the month of June. It was sympatric with U. lowriei and U. subulata, two other rare species that suggest it is rare in the environment. I have not seen additional U. albiflora at other sites where I’ve found the other two species.

U. quinquedentata was previously confused as a subspecies of U. albiflora but is not closely related. The plants occur at a similar size scale.

Front view of Utricularia albiflora
Side view of Utricularia albiflora
U. albiflora (left) vs U. quinquedentata (right)
The plants are quite small
The flower is roughly half a centimeter long
Habitat of Utricularia albiflora.
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