Interesting Things – Smallest Flower in the World
The smallest flower in the world comes from the Wolffia plant; commonly called watermeal, this plant is native to many parts of the world and is differentiated into about 9-11 different species.
The Wolffia flower comes from a plant that is approximately the size of a single colored sprinkle that you see on the top of donuts. It is a small, aquatic plant that resembles cornmeal and is found in clumps floating on top of water. It is a type of Duckweed in the Lemnaceae family of plants.
The flower itself is nestled in a small depression on the surface of the plant and it is said that a bouquet of Wolffia flowers would fit on the head of a pin.
This plant has great potential in commercial food use. Wolffia is 40% protein which is the same amount found in soybeans. It is not an endangered species and is abundant worldwide; in fact, it is considered to be a nuisance plant in some lakes and rivers in South America.
Currently, duckweed is used for commercial purposes other than food. Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with the plant as a platform to manufacture proteins such as insulin.
It is used as food in fish farming and to clean phosphates and nitrogen from water. Wow! The German’s are experimenting with Wolffia as a source of food production for astronauts.
If Wolffia can make proteins for pharmaceuticals, then surely it can manufacture proteins for human consumption. In fact, one of the sources I researched made muffins using Wolffia and found them to be quite tasty.