Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World's Smallest Flower(Water-meal, or Wolffia globosa. )

Water-meal is one of the duckweeds in the family Lemnaceae that contains some 38 species of the smallest and simplest flowering plants. The plant itself averages 1/42" long and 1/85" wide or about the size of one candy sprinkle. It can weigh about 1/190,000 of an ounce, equivalent to two grains of table salt. They are very hard to see! Imagine if you tried to fill a thimble with them, it is estimated that you would need some 5000 plants!

Each Wolffia flower consists of a single pistil and stamen; it also produces the world's smallest fruit, called a utricle. The plant is found in quiet freshwater lakes or marshes with species worldwide. Since the plants have no roots, they can easily float on the surface of the water, where they resemble cornmeal. Water-meal is sometimes used in cold-water aquaria since it is easy to propagate.

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