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Name derivation:

Common name ‘duckmeal


Spirodela (Linneaus) Schleid.

Order Alismatales;  Family Araceae (APG II system) or Lemnaceae (previously)


Floating thallus with 7-16 roots, 7-16 vascular veins.

Monoecious with imperfect flowers, 2 male and 1 female, in each of two ‘pouches’ on the upper surface of the thallus for pollination.

Reproduction mainly asexual by budding.  In temperate climates overwinters on sediments as green or brown buds, then resurfaces after ice melt.


Freshwater ponds and small lakes with minimal wind disturbance.

Widely distributed – ‘virtually cosmopolitan.

Metabolism and Nutrition:


Use as food or food supplement:

Useful as a high protein source for waterfowl and some fish.

Has been harvested in Africa and Asia for cattle and pig feed.

Has also been used to reduce nutrients in polluted effluent.

Reference:  Department of Ecology, State of Washington USA [online].