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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin

LESSER DUCKWEED

(Lemna minor L.)


Lesser Duckweed
Note: The scale shown in the above photograph is in mm.

DUCKWEED FAMILY (Lemnaceae)

IND. STATUS: OBL

FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: This duckweed has flattened fronds between 2-5 mm. long with 3-5 nerves. Frond surfaces are green above and below. Each frond has a single root. Microscopic flowers occur in small pouches on the edge of the frond or on its upper surface.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Lesser duckweed is found in quiet waters, frequently associated with big duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) and watermeal (Wolffia spp.) forming thick, floating mats.

Waterfowl feed on the duckweeds, probably obtaining substantial numbers of minute animal organisms associated with the plants. Some authorities have split L. minor into multiple additional species; however, other authorities have not adopted this approach. See discussion in Swink and Wilhelm (1994).

SOURCE: Fassett (1957); Gleason and Cronquist (1991); Swink and Wilhelm (1994) and Martin et al. (1951).


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