Taxon: Spirodela polyrhiza (L.) Schleid.

Genus: Spirodela
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Lemnoideae
Nomen number: 400337
Place of publication: Linnaea 13:392. 1839
Link to protologue:
Comment: recommendation of W. T. Stearn, Botanical Latin ed. 4: 261. 1992 followed in retaining original spelling: "The initial ρ of a Greek word transliterated as rh, e.g. rhiza (ριζα, root, rhizome), should have an additional r added to it when preceded by a vowel, e.g. Glycyrrhiza (γλυκυρριζα, liquorice, from γλυκος, sweet, ριζα, root), leptorrhiza (λεπτορριζα, with a thin root, from λεπτος, small, slender), but as many reputable authors, Linnaeus among them, have omitted this additional r, it is best regarded as optional and an author's original spelling, as in Lemna polyrhiza, should be accepted."
Name Verified on: 06-Oct-1994 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last Changed: 13-Mar-2017
Species priority site is:
Accessions: 0 in National Plant Germplasm System

Common names:

  • great duckweed  (Source: Websters Dict) - English
  • greater duckweed  (Source: BSBI) - English
  • water flaxseed  (Source: Hortus 3) - English
  • spirodèle polyrhize  (Source: F NAmer) - French
  • vielwurzelige Teichlinse  (Source: Zander Ency) - German

Economic Importance:

  • Animal food: fodder (fide E. Landolt, pers. comm.)
  • Weed: (fide Atlas WWeed)

Distributional Range:


  • Africa

    • East Tropical Africa: Kenya ; Tanzania ; Uganda
    • Northeast Tropical Africa: Chad ; Ethiopia ; Sudan
    • Northern Africa: Algeria ; Egypt ; Morocco
    • South Tropical Africa: Malawi ; Mozambique ; Zambia ; Zimbabwe
    • Southern Africa: Botswana ; South Africa KwaZulu-Natal, Free State
    • West Tropical Africa: Benin ; Ghana ; Nigeria ; Senegal ; Togo
    • West-Central Tropical Africa: Burundi ; Cameroon ; Rwanda ; Zaire
    • Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar
  • Asia-Temperate

    • Caucasus: Azerbaijan ; Georgia
    • China: China Guangdong, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jilin, Sichuan, Yunnan
    • Eastern Asia: Japan ; Korea ; Taiwan
    • Middle Asia: Kazakhstan
    • Russian Far East: Russian Federation Amur, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, Primorye, Sakhalin
    • Siberia: Russian Federation Buryatia, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Tomsk
    • Western Asia: Afghanistan ; Iran ; Israel ; Syria ; Turkey
  • Asia-Tropical

    • Indian Subcontinent: India ; Nepal ; Pakistan ; Sri Lanka
    • Indo-China: Myanmar ; Thailand ; Vietnam
    • Malesia: Malaysia ; Philippines
    • Papuasia: Papua New Guinea
  • Australasia

    • Australia: Australia New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria
  • Europe

    • Eastern Europe: Belarus ; Estonia ; Latvia ; Lithuania ; Moldova ; Russian Federation Astrakhan; Russian Federation-European part European part; Ukraine
    • Middle Europe: Austria ; Belgium ; Czech Republic ; Germany ; Hungary ; Netherlands ; Poland ; Slovakia ; Switzerland
    • Northern Europe: Denmark ; Finland ; Ireland ; Norway ; Sweden ; United Kingdom
    • Southeastern Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina ; Bulgaria ; Croatia ; Greece ; Italy ; Montenegro ; Romania ; Serbia ; Slovenia
    • Southwestern Europe: France ; Portugal ; Spain
  • Northern America

    • Eastern Canada: Canada New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
    • North-Central U.S.A.: United States Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin
    • Northeastern U.S.A.: United States Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia
    • Northern Mexico: Mexico Sonora, Tamaulipas
    • Northwestern U.S.A.: United States Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming
    • South-Central U.S.A.: United States New Mexico, Texas
    • Southeastern U.S.A.: United States Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, District of Columbia
    • Southern Mexico: Mexico Chiapas, Colima, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatan, Federal District
    • Southwestern U.S.A.: United States Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah
    • Western Canada: Canada Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan
  • Pacific

    • North-Central Pacific: United States Hawaii
  • Southern America

    • Caribbean: Cuba ; Dominican Republic ; Guadeloupe ; Haiti ; Jamaica ; Puerto Rico
    • Central America: Costa Rica ; El Salvador ; Guatemala ; Honduras ; Nicaragua ; Panama
    • Western South America: Colombia ; Ecuador ; Peru


  • Webster's third new international dictionary. (Websters Dict)
  • Botanical Society of the British Isles BSBI taxon database (on-line resource). (BSBI)
  • Brako, L. & J. L. Zarucchi Catalogue of the flowering plants and gymnosperms of Peru. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 45. 1993 (L Peru)
  • Erhardt, W. et al. Der große Zander: Enzyklopädie der Pflanzennamen. 2008 (Zander Ency)
  • Euro+Med Editorial Committee Euro+Med Plantbase: the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity (on-line resource). (EuroMed Plantbase)
  • FNA Editorial Committee 2000. Flora of North America. (F NAmer) 22:145.
  • Govaerts, R. & D. G. Frodin World checklist and bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae). 2002 (L Araceae)
  • Holm, L. et al. A geographical atlas of world weeds. 1979 (Atlas WWeed)
  • Jørgensen, P. M. & S. León-Yánez, eds. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 75. 1999 (L Ecuador)
  • Komarov, V. L. et al., eds. Flora SSSR. (F USSR)
  • Landolt, E. 1986. Biosystematic investigations in the family of duckweeds (Lemnaceae). 2. The family of Lemnaceae - a monographic study Veröff. Geobot. Inst. ETH Stiftung Rübel Zürich 71:243.
  • Landolt, E. 1996. pers. comm. (pers. comm.)
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Hortus third. (Hortus 3)
  • Lot, A. et al. 1999. Catálogo de angiospermas acuáticas de México Cuad. Inst. Biol. 33:40.
  • Personal Care Products Council International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI)
  • Stevens, W. D. et al., eds. Flora de Nicaragua. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85(1-3). (F Nicaragua)
  • Tutin, T. G. et al., eds. 1980. Flora europaea. (F Eur) 5:273.


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