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Lemna minor

Lemna minor L.

Lemna cyclostasa Elliot ex Schleid.

Lemna minima Chevall. ex Schleid.

Common Duckweed

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassAlismatidaeAquatic and marshy plants
OrderAlismatalesHerbaceous flowering plants found in marshy habitats
FamilyAraceaeArum family, with plants whose flower is enclosed in a spathe
GenusLemnaFrom Greek limnos, “lake or swamp”
Speciesminor“Smaller or lesser”

About plant names...

Common duckweed is native to Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Lemna means “water-plant” and “minor” means “lesser”—lesser because there is a similar-appearing plant in a different genus and with larger leaves, greater duckweed.

Identification: Duckweed forms a nearly continuous mat of tiny green leaves just below the surface of freshwater ponds and slow-moving streams. The leaves are so small that colonies resemble algae or “pond scum” from a distance. Each leaf is oval, ¹/₃₂-¼" (1-8 mm) × ¹/₃₂-⅛" (0.6-5 mm), equipped with tiny air sacs for flotation. Flowers are rare and nearly invisible at about ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) in diameter. Fish and birds benefit from its relatively high fat and protein levels: “duckweed” is named for ducks’ preference for this food.

Online References:

Lemna minor on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Lemna minor on Wayne's Word

Lemna minor on Wikipedia

Lemna minor at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lemna minor on eFloras

Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)

4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 31 × 21" (78 × 52 cm)

Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)

8/13/2010
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Lemna minor description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA

Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)

8/30/2010 · Old RR bed near Wilkins Farm, Pepperell, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)

7/23/2010 · Nashua River Boat Ramp on Rte 119, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 4-10:

About this map...