Aldrovanda vesiculosa, also known as the Waterwheel plant, is a special kind of plant that eats small water animals.
It’s the only living plant in its group, the Aldrovanda family. This plant can move very fast, which is not common in the plant world.
The Waterwheel plant is found in many places around the world like Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Some people like to keep this plant as a hobby.
How Does the Waterwheel Plant Look?
The Waterwheel plant is a small plant that floats in water. It doesn’t have roots, but young plants have short roots that don’t grow more.
This plant has a long stem that can be 2 to 16 inches long. The stem has many small leaves with traps that grow in circles around it. The traps help the plant catch food.
One end of the stem keeps growing while the other end dies off. The plant grows very fast, making new circles of traps every day.
How Does the Trap of Waterwheel Plant Work?
The traps on the Waterwheel plant look like two parts that fold together. They work like the traps on a Venus flytrap but are smaller and underwater.
The traps have tiny hair inside that can feel when a small water animal touches them. When this happens, the trap closes very fast, in just 10 to 20 milliseconds.
This is one of the fastest plant movements in the world. The trap can only close if the water is warm, at least 68°F.
How Does the Waterwheel Plant Get Food?
The Waterwheel plant can live in places where there is not much food because it can catch its own food and use it well.
The plant can also use the food from old parts of the plant that die off. It can take in minerals from the water very well too.
How Does the Waterwheel Plant Reproduce?
The Waterwheel plant reproduces in different ways. One way is by making flowers that make seeds.
The flowers are small and white and only open for a short time. After that, they go back under the water to make seeds.
But making seeds is not common and doesn’t work well in most places.
Another way the plant reproduces is by growing new plants on the stem. In good conditions, the plant makes a new plant every 1 to 2 inches.
The new plants grow while the old parts die off and break apart. This way, many new plants can grow in a short time.
In cold places, the Waterwheel plant makes special parts called Turions to survive the winter.
The Turions are heavy and sink to the bottom of the water, where it’s warmer. They can live through very cold temperatures, as low as 5°F.
In the spring, the Turions float back up and start growing again.
Where Does the Waterwheel Plant Live?
The Waterwheel plant is found in many places around the world.
It’s often found in places where birds travel because the plants can stick to the birds’ feet and move to new places.
The plant likes to live in shallow, warm water with low nutrients, bright light, and a slightly acidic pH.
In the past 100 years, the Waterwheel plant has become rare. It’s now not found in many countries.
In some places in the United States, people have put the plant into ponds, and it may be a problem because it can hurt water animals.
The History of The Waterwheel Plant
The Waterwheel plant was first talked about in 1696 by Leonard Plukenet, who found the plant in India. He called it Lenticula pulustris Indica.
Later, in 1747, Gaetano Lorenzo Monti named the plant Aldrovandia vesiculosa in honor of an Italian scientist named Ulisse Aldrovandi.
In 1753, Carl Linnaeus named the plant Aldrovanda vesiculosa, which is the name we use today.