Photo by Kirstin Sandblom
Habitat: Duckweed grows floating on the
surface of calm bodies of water. It requires
fresh water that is high in nutrients and a
pH just over 7.
Range: Its native range is most of North
America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It has
also been introduced into Australia and South
Leaves: Duckweed usually only has two or
three leaves which make up the visible part
of the plant. They contain small air sacks to
keep the plant afloat.
Roots: Each leaf has one hair-like root that
hangs down in the water.
Flowers: Duckweed rarely produces flowers.
It usually reproduces by dividing after more
than three leaves have grown. When it does
flower the flowers are tiny (1 mm) and simple.
They are cup-like and only visible with a
Interesting Facts: Duckweed is grown
commercially as animal feed for fish and
Experiments have shown that common
duckweed can remove heavy metals from
It is also being used to explore the effects of
pharmaceutical water pollution on plants.
Duckweeds are pollinated by insects and wind.
They also can self-pollinate in the absence of
Les, D. H. et al. 2002. Phylogeny and Systematics of Lemnaceae, the Duckweed Family. Systematic Botany 27: 221–240.
Skillicorn P., W. SPIRA, and W. JOURNEY. 1993. Duckweed aquaculture: a new aquatic farming system for developing countries. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
Stomp, A-M. 2005. The duckweeds: A valuable plant for biomanufacturing. Biotechnology Annual Review 11: 69-99.