Insectivorous Plants eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 462 pages of information about Insectivorous Plants.
The plant produces numerous colourless rhizomes, as thin as threads, which bear minute bladders, and occasionally swell into tubers, as will [page 432] hereafter be described.  These rhizomes appear exactly like roots, but occasionally throw up green shoots.  They penetrate the earth sometimes to the depth of more than 2 inches; but when the plant grows as an epiphyte, they must creep amidst the mosses, roots, decayed bark, &c., with which the trees of these countries are thickly covered.

As the bladders are attached to the rhizomes, they are necessarily subterranean.  They are produced in extraordinary numbers.  One of my plants, though young, must have borne several hundreds; for a single branch out of an entangled mass had thirty-two, and another branch, about 2 inches in length (but with its end and one side branch broken off), had seventy- three bladders.* The bladders are compressed and rounded, with the ventral surface, or that between the summit of the long delicate footstalk and valve, extremely short (fig. 27).  They are colourless and almost as transparent as glass, so that they appear smaller than they really are, the largest being under the 1/20 of an inch (1.27 mm.) in its longer diameter.  They are formed of rather large angular cells, at the junctions of which oblong papillae project, corresponding with those on the surfaces of the bladders of the previous species.  Similar papillae abound on the rhizomes, and even on the entire leaves, but they are rather broader on the latter.  Vessels, marked with parallel bars instead of by a spiral line, run up the footstalks, and

* Prof.  Oliver has figured a plant of Utricularia Jamesoniana (’Proc.  Linn.  Soc.’ vol. iv. p. 169) having entire leaves and rhizomes, like those of our present species; but the margins of the terminal halves of some of the leaves are converted into bladders.  This fact clearly indicates that the bladders on the rhizomes of the present and following species are modified segments of the leaf; and they are thus brought into accordance with the bladders attached to the divided and floating leaves of the aquatic species. [page 433]

just enter the bases of the bladders; but they do not bifurcate and extend up the dorsal and ventral surfaces, as in the previous species.

The antennae are of moderate length, and taper to a fine point; they differ conspicuously from those before described, in not being armed with bristles.  Their bases are so abruptly curved that their tips generally rest one on each side of the middle of the bladder, but

Fig. 27. (Utricularia montana.) Bladder; about 27 times enlarged.

sometimes near the margin.  Their curved bases thus form a roof over the cavity in which the valve lies; but there is always left on each side a little circular passage into the cavity, as may be seen in the drawing, as well as a narrow passage between the bases of the two antennae.  As the bladders are subterranean, had it not been for the roof, the cavity in which the valve lies would have been liable to be blocked up with earth [page 434] and rubbish; so that the curvature of the antennae is a serviceable character.  There are no bristles on the outside of the collar or peristome, as in the foregoing species.

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Insectivorous Plants from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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