Aldrovanda /ældrəˈvændə/ is a genus of carnivorous plants
encompassing one extant species (
Aldrovanda vesiculosa, the waterwheel
plant) and numerous extinct taxa. The genus is named in honor of the
Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi, the founder of the Botanical
Garden of Bologna, Orto Botanico dell'Università di Bologna.
Aldrovanda vesiculosa has been reported from scattered locations in
Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
1.1 Trap mechanism
2 Extinct relatives
The waterwheel is a small, free floating and rootless aquatic plant,
with a length of about 1.5 to 20 cm (9⁄16 to
7 7⁄8 in), and whorls of about 1 to 2 cm (3⁄8 to
13⁄16 in) in diameter. At every 3 to 4 cm
(1 3⁄16 to 1 9⁄16 in) the plant branches, sometimes
forming offshoots. An average of 12 to 19 whorls spans the length of
the plant, each with about 5 to 9 leaves, each up to 11 mm
(7⁄16 in) long. The growth is faster than terrestrial
carnivorous plants, sometimes growing about 4 to 9 mm (3⁄16 to
3⁄8 in) a day.
In temperate regions the plant goes dormant in the winter, forming
turions of about 4–6 mm (3⁄16–1⁄4 in) and sinking to
the bottom. In tropical regions, the plant grows all year long without
forming turions. The plant flourishes and produces seeds only in these
warmer regions, with temperatures higher than 25 °C
(77 °F), and produces only one flower, white or light pink, that
arises above the surface. In temperate regions, the plant reproduces
mostly via asexual means, producing inviable seeds or no flower at
The leaf structure is very similar to the Dionaea, the main difference
being air chambers present in the "stem". The traps, at the end of the
leaf, contains up to 6 bristles, analog to the Dionaea teeths, that
prevents debris from activating the trap. Each trap contains
additional 60–80 smaller "teeth", and circa 30–40 trigger hairs
inside. The speed of closing is about 0.01 to 0.02 seconds.
The trap mechanism is akin to that present in Dionaea - Darwin even
named it "the miniature aquatic Dionaea". The mechanism by which the
trap snaps shut involves a complex interaction between elasticity,
turgor and growth. In the open, untripped state, the lobes are convex
(bent outwards), but in the closed state, the lobes are concave
(forming a cavity). It is the rapid flipping of this bistable state
that closes the trap, but the mechanism by which this occurs is still
poorly understood. When the trigger hairs are stimulated, an action
potential (mostly involving calcium ions—see calcium in biology) is
generated, which propagates across the lobes and stimulates cells in
the lobes and in the midrib between them.
The extinct species are known only from fossil pollen and seeds,
with the exception of A. inopinata, which is also known from
Aldrovanda was for a long time thought to be
related to the
Late Cretaceous form taxon
but research published in 2010 suggests that remains attributed to
Palaeoaldrovanda actually represent fossilised insect eggs.
The organ of carnivory in
Aldrovanda is the snap trap. Snap traps are
only found in one other carnivorous plant genus, Dionaea, which
comprises the commonly known Venus flytrap.
Aldrovanda and Dionaea
have been shown to share a most recent common ancestor by analysis of
combined nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences. When sequences
of chloroplast DNA of Aldrovanda, Dionaea, and
Drosera were analyzed
Drosera (sundews) were shown to share a
most recent common ancestor. It has been proposed that this
discrepancy between gene trees based on nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA
analyses can be explained by chloroplast capture, as similar
inconsistencies have been explained by this phenomenon.
Several undescribed species are also known.
The distinctions between the various named species have been
criticised, although SEM analysis of the seed structures seems to
confirm the existence of different species.
^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected
Plant Families, Aldrovanda
^ Genaust, Helmut (1976). Etymologisches Wörterbuch der botanischen
Pflanzennamen ISBN 3-7643-0755-2
^ Lee, B.C. (2009). Rare plants data book of Korea: 1-296. Korea
Flora of China
Flora of China Vol. 8 Page 201 貉藻属 he zao shu Aldrovanda
Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 281. 1753.
^ Altervista Flora Italiana,
Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. includes line
drawing plus a European distribution map
^ "CPN Samples". International Carnivorous
Plant Society. 1997.
^ Hodick, Dieter; Sievers, Andreas (1989). "The action potential of
Dionaea muscipula Ellis". Planta. 174 (1): 8–18.
^ Degreef, J.D. 1997. "
Fossil Aldrovanda" (PDF). Carnivorous
Plant Newsletter 26(3): 93–97.
^ Schlauer, J. 1997. "
Aldrovanda — additions" (PDF).
Plant Newsletter 26(3): 98.
^ Heřmanová, Z. & J. Kvaček 2010. Late Cretaceous
Palaeoaldrovanda, not seeds of a carnivorous plant, but eggs of an
insect. Journal of the National Museum (Prague), Natural History
Series, 179(9): 105–118.
^ Schlauer, J. 2012. Literature reviews. Carnivorous
^ Cameron, K.M., K.J. Wurdack, and R.W. Jobson. 2002. Molecular
evidence for the common origin of snap-traps among carnivorous plants.
American Journal of Botany 89: 1503–1509.
^ Rivadavia, F., K. Kondo, M. Kato, and M. Hasebe. 2003. Phylogeny of
Drosera (Droseraceae) based on chloroplast rbcL and
nuclear 18S ribosomal DNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 90:
^ a b Elansary, H.O.M., L. Adamec, and H. Storchova. 2010. Uniformity
of organellar DNA in
Aldrovanda vesiculosa, an endangered aquatic
carnivorous species, distributed across four continents. Aquatic
Botany 92: 214–220.
^ Tsitrone, A., M. Kirkpatrick, and D.A. Levin. 2003. A model for
chloroplast capture. Evolution 57: 1776–1782.
^ Gaskin, J.F. and L.M. Wilson. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships among
native and naturalized Hieracium (Asteraceae) in Canada and the United
States based on plastid DNA sequences. Systematic Botany 32:
^ Friis, E.-M. 1980. Microcarpological Studies of Middle Miocene
Floras of Western Denmark. Ph.D. Thesis, Aarhus Universitet, 183-186.
^ Iakubovskaya, T.V. 1991. Rod
Aldrovanda (Droseraceae) v
Plieistotsenie Bielorussii. Bot. Zhurnal 76(1): 109-118.
Carnivorous and protocarnivorous plants
List of carnivorous plants
List of carnivorous plant periodicals