Commonly lurking in many UK ponds is Lemna, better known as Duckweed. A common weed to most. However, this familiar pond dweller is quite special. It is the smallest example of angiospermae within the plant kingdom. The plant is made up of a small green round leaf, 0.5cm or less in diameter, with a slender root underneath. Alike to Nymphaea (Water lilies), Duckweed thrive in nutrient rich, still, or slow-moving areas of water.
Interestingly, duckweed have a rapid biomass accumulation rate. So much so, they may double in size every two or three days, accumulating minerals and nutrients. This rapid growth makes Duckweed one of the fastest growing plants in the world! This fast growth, alongside high nutrient content could enable duckweed to become a commercial crop of the future. Duckweed can contain up to 35% protein, 7% fat, and 10% starch per dry weight. with the ability to also contain iron, zinc, and copper (Important micro/macronutrients).
Image: Duckweed / RHS Gardening Credit:RHS/John Trenholm.