We searched for perhaps 30 minutes but found nothing else, so we moved to the vegetation mat on the lake's north shore.
"What's this", Beth asked.
I looked at her pathetic, rather incomplete specimen with irritation. Yes, she was the first to find our second species at the lake, this time Utricularia minor--a hard plant to find under nearly any circumstances. I forced a grimacy smile: "Great, honey, you found another species! Good for you!"
Utricularia minor can be identified using the following characters:
1: It is usually weakly rooted or at least mired in the mucky substrate or tangle of vegetation and decaying material, in water only a few cm to several tens of cm deep.
2: It has small leaves that are divided into about 25 or fewer ultimate leaf tips.
3: The shoots are weakly divided into two types. The first type is green, leafy, and bears few bladders, the second type tends to be richer in bladders. This is can be a very subtle difference.
4: The terminal leaflet tips are threadlike (capillary) and not flattened.
5: Viewed under a microscope, the terminal leaflet segments have no tiny needlelike hairs (setulae) on the margins and on the leaf tip. Verify this carefully with a hand lens or dissecting scope.
Characters 4-5 above are reliable for all plants. This species can also easily be identified by its flowers, or by the nature of the "quadrifid glands" in the bladder.