Where to get duckweeds?

You can collect duckweeds yourself, or you can find them for sale in small quantities from aquatic plant dealers and biological stock centers.  Since duckweeds grow rapidly, these small quantities are suitable sources for experiments and class demonstrations.  Except for the biological stock centers, these cultures are not axenic (sterile).

Your local pond or wetland. 

Collecting duckweeds in the wild is easy.  Bring small cups or bottles and collect at least enough pond water to float the collected plants, more if you want to maintain their growth.  A small net is useful for collecting the plants.  Identifying the correct genus is not difficult, although species identification requires more experience.  For most student work, species identification is unnecessary.

Right:  Video, Watch Tamra Fakhoorian explain how to collect duckweed from the wild and culture it.  She has more tips and information on her website, www.DuckweedGardening.com.

Aquatic plant dealers and biological supply houses

A few suppliers offer specific cultures.  For example:

Van Ness Water Gardens in Upland, California has Lemna minor
Another California company, PondPlants.com offers cultures of several species, including Lemna minor, the Ivy-leafed Duckweed (Lemna trisulca) and several blends, which can include the smallest duckweed, Wolffia arrhiza.
Tropical Pond and Garden, Loxahatchee, Florida, offers cultures of  Lemna minor.

Duckweeds (not identified by species) are available from several additional suppliers.

Anchor Bay Aquarium in Michigan advertises live duckweed for sale by the ounce or by the pound.
Carolina Biological Supply, cat. no. WW-16-1820, 100 to 150 plants/unit.
Berkshire Biological, product code BBDW02, 2 ounces per unit.

Duckweed Living Stock Centers.

Rutgers Living Duckweed Collection

Lemnaceae Germplasm Collection:  Rutgers Duckweed Stock Cooperative at Rutgers University has obtained the world-wide duckweed collection assembled by the late Prof. Elias Landolt of the ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.  Prof. Landolt spent his academic career collecting and studying the Lemnaceae.  This collection was previously held at North Carolina State University and the Biolex Company, Pittsboro, NC.

The Landolt collection has been augmented by many strains collected by Dr. Todd Michael of Rutgers, and Prof. Klaus Appenroth of the the Friedrich-Schiller-Universitšt, Jena, Germany. As of September, 2011, the Cooperative had over 600 different strains, collected from all continents except Antarctica, and it continues to add to its collection. To request living plants from this collection, see instructions at the Rutgers Duckweed Stock Cooperative website.

L. gibba, L. minor and L. trisulca:  In Canada, the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre (CPCC) at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.  The CPCC maintains a number of species commonly used in bioassays for toxicity testing, including L. gibba, L. minor and L. trisulca.  "The CPCC can provides cultures, media and advice for students who are conducting Science Fair projects.... Please contact the Curator for specific information on the costs."  Cultures are available for a fee.  Students are advised to contact the curator, Heather Roshon, for specific information on the costs.

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Revised:  August 27, 2013