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Duckweed Seeds For Sale… Or Not?

January 28, 2013

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.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jerry Cooper permalink
    May 19, 2017 10:22 pm

    Very interested in results. I need to send some to Nepal and really don’t think I can send them live. If you test works I will ship or Carry seeds. If not I hope someone has another plan. Thanks Jerry


    • Bijendra permalink
      June 25, 2021 8:09 am

      Hi Jerry this is me bijendra. Just wondering did you able to get duckweed in Nepal in any way. I am in need of duckweed/it will be a great help if there is anyone you know in Nepal who has the duckweed. Kindly message me at or Facebook id bijendra bhakta bhaju . +971563966516 WhatsApp


  2. Karim Niazy permalink
    February 4, 2017 9:04 am

    I live in Egypt and have just started my aquaponic garden and was looking for duckweed which are rare to come buy in Egypt if not at all. I was wondering if I can get some from another country via express mail deliver of getting hold of some seeds. Would appreciate if you can comment on how long can the weed survive in a jar seent by mail.


    • February 5, 2017 12:38 am

      Karim, your live fronds (not seeds) should be fine for the first two days in transit as long as the temperatures do not get above 31 degrees C. After that, expect a percentage to start dying off daily. Do open the container immediately and transplant ASAP into your prepared water container in semishade. Let it acclimate in its new environment. It’s been through a trial!


  3. September 25, 2013 10:01 am

    So?? Did they?


    • September 25, 2013 11:14 am

      Check out my next post, A duckweed seed fail but an entertaining one. Thanks for reading!


  4. Susan Munroe permalink
    February 2, 2013 2:05 pm

    I had read something about duckweed and seeds before…

    From a co. that sells duckweed-killer herbicide:

    “Common duckweed, or Lemna minor (from the Greek lemna, “water-plant,” and minor, “lesser,”) is a very small light-green, SEED-BEARING aquatic perennial plant.”

    “The plants reproduce at twice the rate of other vascular plants by SEED and vegetatively throughout the growing season…”

    “Plants may overwinter as turions or as SEEDS, sinking and resting at the bottom of the pond until they germinate.”

    From Pacific Domes of Ashland (OR), which has created a greenhouse “bio-energy dome” and is working toward using duckweed as a fuel. Here is the quote, but knowing how some reporters have trouble understanding concepts, I don’t know if they’re really talking about SEED, or a live plants used for “seeding” the unit (I suspect the latter):

    “Two pounds of duckweed SEED in a 32-foot tank in Philadelphia grew to a depth of 2 inches in 10 days, he said.”

    From an article on duckweed biology (This is a translated article, hence the somewhat awkward English — “…the paws of birds…” *grin*):

    “Flowering in the family of Lemnaceae is plotted not in what known for the flowering plants rhythms, and it was observed so rarely which specially was recorded. In Finland – are noted 33 cases of flowering from 1685-1947, in Poland – only 2 times with 1679-1959, in America the flowering of Spirodela in the last 200 years has been observed not more than 20 times.”

    “Fruits of duckweeds are well visible with the naked eye, according to the sizes/dimensions they are just larger than a poppy seed.”



    • February 2, 2013 3:03 pm

      Great comments and links, Sue. Thank you! I too have noticed that the term, “duckweed seeds” is used interchangeably with duckweed plants. I think I may see seeds in my duckweed hay that I am trying to revive. Spend an hour looking under a microscope last night looking for any signs of life on the surface of my test. Lots of “Whoa, what, is that frond alive or is it just such a nice green, it is faking me out… ” Nada, yet. Plus it is starting to smell a bit from decomposing material. Still, a fascinating exploration to see IF any seeds are present, WILL they sprout?


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