Wayne Armstrong's On-line Description of Lemna valdiviana (Lemnaceae)
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Lemna valdiviana

R.A. Philippi

Valdivia Duckweed

Linnaea 33: 239; 1864.


Roots: One root.

Shape of Plant Body: Flattened, oval to narrow-oblong in outline, often asymmetrical (oblique or laterally curved) at base; typically pale green, very thin (transparent) and thalluslike with uniform thickness and texture.

Size: 2-4 mm long.

Veins: One vein (usually visible with backlighting), extending 3/4 of the distance from root node (point of root attachment) to apex of plant body (generally longer than region of air spaces).

Budding Pouch Position: 2 lateral pouches on either side of basal end..

Flower (Fruit) Position: Within membranous, cuplike spathe (open on one side) inside budding pouches.

Arrangement of Clonal Clusters: Typically 4-8 connected.

Habitat: Freshwater ponds, marshes and quiet streams, often floating submersed beneath other aquatic vegetation; on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County, California, forming colonies on moist mud beneath bracken fern meadow.

Range: Occasionally found in inland valleys and mountains of California to 1500 m.; apparently rare in the Pacific Northwest; some documented locations for this species in the western United States may be the closely related L. minuta Kunth; more common in the eastern United States extending southward through Mexico to Central and South America.

Other Information:

May be distinguished from other Lemna spp. by its very thin, transparent-green, narrow-oblong plant bodies in clusters of 4-8 with uniform translucent surface texture; the elongate, membranous plant body with a single long vein (usually visible on live or dead plants with backlighting) appear to be the most reliable characteristics to separate this sp. from the common small growth form of L. minuta; however, the 2nd, larger growth form of L. minuta is very difficult to distinguish; often grows submersed in tangled masses under other Lemnaceae and aquatic plants, and appears to be ecologically similar to L. trisulca.

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