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Each speck is an individual plant (on human fingers, for scale)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Lemnoideae
Tribe: Wolffieae
Genus: Wolffia

9-11, see text

Close up of two different duckweeds: Spirodela polyrrhiza and Wolffia globosa. The very tiny Wolffia plants are under 2 millimetres (0.079 in) long.

Wolffia is a genus of 9 to 11 species which include the smallest flowering plants on Earth. Commonly called watermeal or duckweed, these aquatic plants resemble specks of cornmeal floating on the water. Wolffia species are free-floating thalli, green or yellow-green, and without roots. The flower is produced in a depression on the top surface of the plant body. It has one stamen and one pistil. They tend to have about 6-15 penis's. Individuals often float together in pairs or form floating mats with related plants, such as Lemna and Spirodela species. Most species have a very wide distribution across several continents. Wolffia species are composed of about 40 percent protein, about the same as the soybean, making them a potential high-protein human food source. They have historically been collected from the water and eaten as a vegetable in much of Asia.

Selected species[edit]

References and external links[edit]