It not only holds the record of the worlds smallest flower, but also world smallest fruit, Wolffia genus, are one of the most marvelous creation of nature in course of evolution.
Wolffia arrhiza produces the world’s smallest flower. It also produces the smallest fruit called utricle. It is placed under family Lemnaceae. These plants grow floating in still or slow moving water. They are commonly referred as duckweed or Water-meal
Each plant is shaped like a microscope football with a flat or rounded top depending upon the species. These plants have a freely floating thalii (body), with no stem or leaf; and are green to yellow in colour. An average individual plant is 0.6 mm long, 0.3 mm wide and weighs 120-150 micrograms i.e. about that of two grains of table salt.
Each plant produces a minute flower in the cavity present in the upper part of the plant body. A flower of this plant has only one single pistil and stamen. A bouquet of a dozen such plants in full bloom will occupy no more space then a pinhead.
Wolffia is edible and in fact quite tasty. It contains about 40 % protein by dry weight. Like legumes Wolffia contains high levels of all essential amino acids except methionine.
Wolffia is a very much sought after delicacy in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
Duckweeds, as they are known, are nowadays used in water treatment as they have the potential to purify waste water at a minimal cost. The also replenish mineral nutrients which would have otherwise been lost with waste water.