The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Florida waterscapes in 2003

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Size matters:
The sets of radial floats on these plants were only about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. This is way too small for Utricularia inflata. I revised my guess and decided they were probably Utricularia radiata! I had never before seen Utricularia radiata, so spotting it was a real buzz! However, to verify the identification, I would need to get some plants into my hands to look at some subtle, minute characters (students of Taylor's monograph will know what I mean when I refer to "secondary leaf segments" or "bifid corolla spurs"). Alas, since I was on a boardwalk, I could not venture close enough to grab plants (without setting a very bad example), so I could only stare longingly at these enticing plants.

I think my excitement must have been obvious, because as I was putting long lenses on my camera, and peering with binoculars into the water, I developed a small circle of curious tourists. "Watcha got? A gator?" My explanation that I was looking at the plants was met with the usual mix of disbelief and pity.

Incidentally, these plants were growing in darker conditions than what I am used to. Indeed, on this partly sunny day, and with Velvia at F22, I needed to shoot exposures 6-10 seconds long.

Ultimately, I was about 80% sure these plants were Utricularia radiata. Even so, I could not be sure. So with the sun setting, and itching with furious curiosity, I shuffled back to my car.

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005