Not just boring, boring duckweed



Duckweeds have a reputation for being dull, and a disaster for your pond – but duckweeds are not all bad.

First, despite being tiny, they provide homes for animals. In Britain, there’s a couple of duckweed specialists: the Duckweed Weevil, a tiny beetle with a Pinnochio-like nose  whose larvae burrow into the fronds, and the Small China Mark, a moth whose larvae live amongst the duckweeds and make a tubular case from the individual leaves. Check out pictures of the Small China Mark here.

The Duckweed Weevil

The Duckweed Weevil

And duckweeds are not just one kind of plant. Here in Britain we have 5 native species including the worlds smallest flowering plant – Rootless Duckweed – so small it looks like a green speck of dust.

Our native species are below – click them for a photo each:

Common Duckweed – (botanically Lemna minor)

Ivy-leaved Duckweed (Lemna trisulca)

Great Duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza)

Fat Duckweed (Lemna gibba)

Rootless Duckweed (Wollfia arrhiza)

We also have two introduced species – one now quite widespread which comes from North America originally, Least Duckweed, and a new introduction, just discovered in Britain, called Red Duckweed. You need to be pretty hot on your duckweeds to be able to tell them from the two native species they resemble.



One Response to “Not just boring, boring duckweed”

  1. Owen Smith Says:


    I wonder if any of the pond people here have Wolffia arrhiza growing in their ponds. I’d like to obtain some. I’ve seen most of the other species, but not Wolffia.

    My mum and dad bought me a small pond for my 10th birthday. It was the best present I ever had and kept me entertained for many years. There is nothing to beat a pond for instilling a love and appreciation for the natural world. All kids should have one!

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