The Arecidae
Family Overview - Arales

Lemnaceae  - the Duckweed Family

Diversity:  Floating or submerged aquatics found in or on freshwater habitats throughout the world.  The family includes about 6 genera and about 29 species.

Distribution:  Worldwide with extensive species level distributions mediated by migratory birds. We have 5 genera and 17 species in Texas.

Floral structure - imperfect, reduced to the max:

Significant features:  The smallest flowering plants adapted, via extreme reduction (no stem, leaves, root), for occupation of surface water (maximum light, minimum competition).  This adaptive syndrome includes algal-like vegetative reproduction via clonal 'budding' of the plant body or thalus with sexual reproduction very rare.  Linkage between this family and the Araceae is similar to other family pairs we have examined - Monotropaceae and Ericaceae (Ericales) and Convolvulaceae and Cuscutaceae (Solanales) - in that the affinity between the two families is clear and the smaller element represents an extreme of trends that are evident among taxa of the larger.
 
 

Fruit and Floral Structure:

l. minor
Views of flowering Lemna minor from The Families of Flowering Plants (Delta).  See also:  The World's Smallest Fruit and Flowering and Dormancy in Duckweeds.

More information on the Lemnaceae 


Return to Lecture Notes, the Biology 301 homepage, or the Arecidae page