Wayne Armstrong's On-line Description of Wolffiella gladiata (Lemnaceae)
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Wolffiella gladiata

(C. Hegelmaier) C. Hegelmaier

Gladiate Mudmidget or Sword-Shaped Mudmidget

Bot. Jahrb. 21: 304; 1895.


Roots: None

Shape of Plant Body: Flattened, linear to narrow-lanceolate or sabre-shaped, often falcate (sickle-shaped) with pointed apex.

Size: 0.5-1.5 mm wide and 4-9 mm long (generally 6-15 times as long as wide).

Veins: None in plant body; faint tract of elongated cells (costa) visible in budding pouch.

Budding Pouch Position: One flattened, triangular pouch at basal end; budding pouch angle 25-50 degrees; costa running along the edge of the lower wall of pouch; stalk where daughter plant was attached (continuous with costa) often visible and extending slightly from pouch.

Flower (Fruit) Position: Within floral cavity near basal end of dorsal surface, not enclosed by spathe; in flowering plants the basal end floats just at the water surface so that stamen and pistil are held above water; flowering is rarely observed in this species.

Arrangement of Clonal Clusters: Solitary or 2-several connected, sometimes as many as 50 remaining attached in a star-shaped cluster submersed below the water surface; typically the basal ends float near the water surface and the elongate free ends are bent downward.

Habitat: Floating at surface or submersed in fresh water ponds, swamps and quiet streams, often beneath other Lemnaceae and aquatic plants.

Range: Known in the Pacific Northwest from a single pond in Thurston County, Washington where it was probably introduced; distributed in warm temperate climates of the southern and southeastern United States, extending south into Mexico; without turions it is doubtful that this sp. could survive the cold winters of high mountains and northern latitudes.

Other Information:

The elongate, sword-shaped, rootless plant body of this sp. is distinctive among all North American spp. of Lemnaceae; when the Thurston County site (9 miles s.e. of Yelm) was revisited in September 1995, no trace of this plant could be found; it is doubtful that this delicate subtropical/tropical sp. could survive the cold winters of this area.

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