What Is Duckweed (Lemnoideae)?
Duckweed is a flowering, aquatic plant that floats on the surface of the water in wetlands and slow-moving bodies of fresh water. Duckweed is a very small plant with one to three small fronds. It is light green and one of the very smallest flowering plants. Many of our customers purchase Duckweed as a treat for their koi fish or turtles. It can practically double in size in just 16 hours, if the growing conditions are ideal. Duckweed got its name from the plant being transported on duck's feet when they traveled from pond to pond.
Duckweed is being studied by scientists around the globe for the following applications:
- Water Filter
- Algae Growth Prevention
- Reduces evaporation from bodies of water
- Food for Livestock
- Food for Humans
- Mosquito Prevention
Duckweed as a water filter
When duckweed is used as a water filter on livestock farms, it can have amazing results. The run-off from these farms can cause catastrophic results ecologically, if this untreated water is allowed to reach the water table. Duckweed will purify this water by absorbing the chemicals. Several small countries are using duckweed as a purifier for their limited water supplies. This a natural, low cost water treatment that will not hurt the environment.
Duckweed prevents algae growth
Algae only needs three things to grow. 1.) Water, 2.)Sunlight and 3.) Nutrients. When you have a body of water, you already have the ingredients for algae growth. With the addition of Duckweed, the algae will be starved out as the Duckweed will grow rapidly, using the nutrients in the pond, thus starving out the algae. Always remember to add oxygen to your duckweed with slight agitation or aeration. Without oxygen, your duckweed will die.
Duckweed reduces evaporation from bodies of water
Once Duckweed is planted in a body of water, it reproduces rapidly causing a thick mat of Duckweed to float on the surface of the water. This mat serves as a cover and does not allow the water to be evaporated.
Duckweed as a food for livestock
Duckweed can be added to livestock feed, helping reduce the cost of raising farm animals and livestock. The rapid growth of Duckweed is another incentive as it allows a farmer to supplement his animals feed without increasing his costs. Once the Duckweed begins to reproduce and double its quantity, it is virtually free to grow! This plant adds nutrition to poultry and helps to produce more white meat! Fish being grown in aquaculture are fed Duckweed and this protein rich food adds to their growth and health while cutting fish food costs in half! Also used as supplemental feed for cattle, swine, sheep, goats and rabbits with excellent results.
Duckweed as a food for humans
In some parts of the Far East, Duckweed is being used for human consumption. Duckweed contains protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is being studied and used as a food crop since it is so inexpensive and easy to produce. It is similar in taste to spinach and watercress. It can be used in soups and salads as well as for sandwiches in place of lettuce, sprouts, or spinach. The Thai, Burmese and Laotians use Duckweed as a nutritious vegetable in their diets.
Duckweed as a bio-fuel
Scientists are studying the application of Duckweed as a bio-fuel. The reproduction capabilities of Duckweed are amazing. Duckweed may be a way to create a bio-fuel without harming the environment.
Plants such as corn, sugar cane and elephant grass have been studied for their use as a bio fuel. These plants take up valuable farm land where crops for humans could be planted. None of the plants listed above have the rapid reproduction of duckweed. Not only does it reproduce quickly, it does not take up valuable farmland, it grows on water, freeing up the land for farming food crops. Duckweed cleans the water it is growing in and only leaves clean water behind.
Duckweed for mosquito prevention
Shallow pools of water attract mosquitoes, this can be a problem as the spread of mosquitoes helps to spread disease as well.Diseases like Zika, Malaria, Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever are all spread by mosquitoes. Duckweed spreads across the surface of still water and blocks mosquitoes from laying their eggs. If you are able to stop mosquito breeding you are able to help stop the spread of disease.