Scientific name: Spirodela polyrhiza, Lemna minor
Abundance: plentiful
What: whole plant
How: puree and add to soups and stews, sautee in oil or butter, dry then powder for a food additive
Where: still water open to the sun
When: summer
Other uses: Dry, crush, then rub on skin to use as an insect repellent.
Nutritional Value: high in protein
Dangers: this plant must be cooked to kill any dangerous aquatic microbes

Leaf Arrangement: Duckweed does not have true leaves; the plant body is a thallus, which floats directly on the water surface.

Leaf Shape: The shape of the thallus is broadly ovate to round, typically measuring 0.04 to 0.2 inches across.

Leaf Venation: There is no venation; the plant's thallus is a simple structure with a single layer of cells.

Leaf Margin: The margins are entire and smooth, as the thallus is undifferentiated.

Leaf Color: The color is usually a vibrant green but can vary to yellow-green depending on nutrient availability and environmental conditions.

Flower Structure: Flowers are seldom seen and are minute when present, lacking petals and reduced to a simple pistil and stamen.

Flower Color: Flowers, when they do appear, are inconspicuous and generally greenish.

Fruit: The fruit is a utricle, a small, bladder-like, one-seeded fruit, but is rarely produced in natural conditions.

Seed: Seeds are small and also rarely produced; the plant primarily reproduces vegetatively.

Stem: Duckweed does not have a stem; the thallus performs all necessary functions.

Hairs: There are no hairs on duckweed; the plant body is smooth.

Height: As a free-floating plant, duckweed does not have height in the traditional sense; the thickness of the thallus is typically less than 0.06 inches.


Duckweed IGFB


Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

During the warm summer months Duckweed will completely cover sunny, still or slow-moving waters. These plants are the fastest at reproducing known, doubling in surface coverage every two days. On type, Wolffia microscopica, can bud off new plants in as little as 30 hours! Many private lake owners hate the look of a green-covered lake and pump in poisons to kill it...which sucks because among other things this covering of duckweed can suppressed mosquito populations.

Dried duckweed contains 25-45% protein, 4% fat, and 8-10% fiber, which is kind of amazing. Boil it to kill any aquatic microbes which could cause sickness in humans. Because it is so high in protein and grows so fast it is a favorite for use by smart people for chicken and hog food. Really smart people use the dried, powdered duckweed to kick up the nutritional values of their own food.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

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