Duckweed Seeds For Sale… Or Not?
A reader asked me recently if I could supply him with duckweed seeds. I replied that the only way I know of to send duckweed is via sending a fresh, live sample of fronds, as duckweed seeds are minute and rare. I haven’t even witnessed a flowering frond yet, let alone seen seeds. Then I got to wondering – Were seeds an alternative to shipping delicate fronds?
I emailed a friend of mine- Wayne Armstrong of “Wayne’s Word” an online textbook of natural history. Wayne is a total guru on duckweed biology and has the best pics of flowering duckweed I’ve ever seen.
“Wayne, if duckweed is sun-dried and seeds are present, would the seeds possibly be viable once the dried duckweed is placed in a water body again?”
His response, “That is an excellent question. I have never tried to grow duckweed from seed. Actually, I seldom find fruits or seeds. I always thought they needed to be in damp soil or at least protected from complete desiccation to survive.”
Wayne’s answer had me even more intrigued. Today I started an experiment of soaking sun-dried duckweed in water. Perhaps there are a few seeds dispersed in the handfuls of “duckweed hay.” Perhaps not. It’s not a decisive test unless I actually have duckweed seeds sprout. The hay has been bone dry for eight months so there is no chance of the fronds coming back to life. Then there is always the question of IF the seeds are viable, how long before they sprout and are large enough to even see?
Fun stuff. Stay tuned.