Azolla – Chi Azolla

    Azolla - Chi Azolla Azolla genus freshwater aquarium plants 600 x 600
    Azolla – Chi Azolla
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    Species from this Genus – Các cây trong Chi này:


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Mosquito fern
    Temporal range: Maastrichtian-Holocene
    Azolla caroliniana0.jpg  Azolla - Chi Azolla 220px Azolla caroliniana0
    Azolla caroliniana
    Scientific classification
    Kingdom: Plantae
    Division: Pteridophyta
    Class: Polypodiopsida /
    Pteridopsida (disputed)
    Order: Salviniales
    Family: Salviniaceae
    Genus: Azolla
    Type species
    A. filiculoides[1]
    See list below

    Azolla (mosquito fern, duckweed fern, fairy moss, water fern) is a genus of seven species of aquatic ferns in the family Salviniaceae. They are extremely reduced in form and specialized, looking nothing like other typical ferns but more resembling duckweed or some mosses.


    • 1. Selected species
    • 2. Ecology
    • 3. Reproduction
    • 4. Human use
      • 4.1Food
      • 4.2Companion plant
      • 4.3Larvicide
    • 5. Importance in Paleoclimatology
    • 6. Bioremediation
    • 7. See also
    • 8. References
    • 9. External links

    Selected species

    Azolla - Chi Azolla 202px Azolla filiculoides drawing


    Drawing of Azolla filiculoides, about 5 mm. Upper green leaves perform photo synthesis, lower lack chlorophyll

    Azolla caroliniana Willd.   [ Poss. synon. of A. filiculoides ] Azolla circinata (vi) Oltz & Hall
    Azolla cristata Kaulf.
    Azolla filiculoides Lam.
    Azolla imbricata (Roxb. ex Griff.) Nakai
    Azolla japonica Franch. & Sav.   [ Poss. synon. of A. filiculoides ] Azolla mexicana C.Presl
    Azolla microphylla Kaulf.
    Azolla nilotica Decne. ex Mett.
    Azolla pinnata R.Br.
    Azolla rubra R.Br.   [ Poss. synon. of A. filiculoides ]

    List sources :[2][3][4]

    At least six extinct species are known from the fossil record:

    • Azolla intertrappea Sahni & H.S. Rao, 1934 (Eocene, India)[5]
    • Azolla berryi Brown, 1934 (Eocene, Green River Formation, Wyoming)[5]
    • Azolla prisca Chandler & Reid, 1926 (Oligocene, London Clay, Isle of Wight)[5]
    • Azolla tertiaria Berry, 1927 (Pliocene, Esmeralda Formation, Nevada)[5]
    • Azolla primaeva (Penhallow) Arnold, 1955 (Eocene, Allenby Formation, British Columbia)[5]
    • Azolla boliviensis Vajda & McLoughlin, 2005 (Maastrichtian – Paleocene, Eslaboacuten Formation& Flora Formation Bolivia)[6]


    Azolla - Chi Azolla 220px Canning rv azolla 10 gnangarra


    Azolla covering the Canning River

    Azolla - Chi Azolla 220px Canning rv azolla 02 gnangarra 

    Azolla on the Canning River, Western Australia

    Azolla is a highly productive plant. It doubles its biomass in 3–10 days, depending on conditions, and yield can reach 8–10 tonnes fresh matter/ha in Asian rice fields. 37.8 t fresh weight/ha (2.78 t DM/ha dry weight) has been reported for Azolla pinnata in India (Hasan et al., 2009).[7]

    Azolla filiculoidess (Red Azolla) is the only member of this genus and of the family Azollaceae in Tasmania. It is a very common native aquatic plant in Tasmania. It is particularly common on farm dams and other still water bodies. The plants are small (usually only a few cm across) and float, but can be very abundant and form large mats. The plants are typically red, and have very small water repellent leaves. Azolla floats on the surface of water by means of numerous, small, closely overlapping scale-like leaves, with their roots hanging in the water. They form a symbiotic relationship with the cyanobacterium Anabaena azollae, which fixes atmospheric nitrogen, giving the plant access to the essential nutrient. This has led to the plant being dubbed a “super-plant”, as it can readily colonise areas of freshwater, and grow at great speed – doubling its biomass every two to three days. The only known limiting factor on its growth is phosphorus, another essential mineral. An abundance of phosphorus, due for example to eutrophication or chemical runoff, often leads to Azolla blooms.

    Azolla - Chi Azolla 220px Azolla01


    SEM image of Azolla surface

    The nitrogen-fixing capability of Azolla has led to Azolla being widely used as a biofertiliser, especially in parts of southeast Asia. Indeed, the plant has been used to bolster agricultural productivity in China for over a thousand years. When rice paddies are flooded in the spring, they can be inoculated with Azolla, which then quickly multiplies to cover the water, suppressing weeds. The rotting plant material releases nitrogen to the rice plants, providing up to nine tonnes of protein per hectare per year.[8]

    Azolla are weeds in many parts of the world, entirely covering some bodies of water. The myth that no mosquito can penetrate the coating of fern to lay its eggs in the water gives the plant its common name “mosquito fern”.[9]

    Most of the species can produce large amounts of deoxyanthocyanins in response to various stresses,[10]including bright sunlight and extremes of temperature,[11][12] causing the water surface to appear to be covered with an intensely red carpet. Herbivore feeding induces accumulation of deoxyanthocyanins and leads to a reduction in the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the fronds, thus lowering their palatability and nutritive value.[13]

    Azolla cannot survive winters with prolonged freezing, so is often grown as an ornamental plant at high latitudes where it cannot establish itself firmly enough to become a weed. It is not tolerant of salinity; normal plants can’t survive in greater than 1-1.6‰, and even conditioned organisms die in over 5.5‰ salinity.[14]


    Azolla - Chi Azolla 220px Azolla megaspore and massulae Postglacial Galapagos Islands SEM 1


    Scanning electron micrograph of a megaspore of the genus Azolla with adhering massulae from postglacial sediments of Laguna El Junco, Galápagos Island of San Cristóbal.[15]

    Azolla - Chi Azolla 220px Azolla megaspore Postglacial Galapagos Islands TEM longitudinal section 1


    Transmission electron micrograph of a megaspore of the genus Azolla from postglacial sediments of Laguna El Junco, Galápagos Island of San Cristobal.[15]

    Azolla reproduces sexually, and asexually by splitting.

    Like all ferns, sexual reproduction leads to spore formation, but Azolla sets itself apart from other members of its group by producing two kinds. During the summer months, numerous spherical structures called sporocarps form on the undersides of the branches. The male sporocarp is greenish or reddish and looks like the egg mass of an insect or spider. It is two millimeters in diameter, and inside are numerous male sporangia. Male spores (microspores) are extremely small and are produced inside each microsporangium. Curiously, microspores tend to adhere in clumps called massulae.[5]

    Female sporocarps are much smaller, containing one sporangium and one functional spore. Since an individual female spore is considerably larger than a male spore, it is termed a megaspore.

    Azolla has microscopic male and female gametophytes that develop inside the male and female spores. The female gametophyte protrudes from the megaspore and bears a small number of archegonia, each containing a single egg. The microspore forms a male gametophyte with a single antheridium which produces eight swimming sperm.[16] The barbed glochidia on the male spore clusters cause them to cling to the female megaspores, thus facilitating fertilization.

    Human use


    In addition to its traditional cultivation as a bio-fertilizer for wetland paddy (due to its ability to fix nitrogen), azolla is finding increasing use for sustainable production of livestock feed.[17] Azolla is rich in proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. describe feeding azolla to, chickens and egg production of layers, as compared to conventional feed. One FAO study describes how azolla integrates into a tropical biomass agricultural system, reducing the need for inputs.[18] Azolla has also been suggested as a food stuff for human consumption. However, no long term studies of the healthiness of eating Azolla have been made on humans [19] and Azolla may contain BMAA, a substance that is a possible cause of neurodegenerative diseases.[20]

    Companion plant

    Azolla has been used, for at least one thousand years in rice paddies as a companion plant, because of the presence of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in symbiosis with Azolla, and its tendency to block out light to prevent any competition from other plants, aside from the rice, which is planted when tall enough to poke out of the water through the azolla layer. Mats of mature azolla can also be used as a weed-suppressing mulch.

    We know for certain that rice farmers used Azolla as a rice biofertilizer 1500 years ago. The earliest known written record of this practice is in a book written by Jia Ssu Hsieh (Jia Si Xue) in 540 A.D on The Art of Feeding the People (Chih Min Tao Shu). By the end of the Ming Dynasty in the early 17th century, Azolla’s use as a green compost was being recorded in numerous local records.[21]


    As an additional benefit to its role as a paddy biofertilizer, Azolla spp. have been used to control mosquito larvae in rice fields. The plant grows in a thick mat on the surface of the water, making it more difficult for the larvae to reach the surface to breathe, effectively choking the larvae.[22]

    Importance in Paleoclimatology

    Main article: Azolla event

    A study of Arctic paleoclimatology reported that Azolla may have had a significant role in reversing an increase in greenhouse effect that occurred 55 million years ago that caused the region around the north pole to turn into a hot, tropical environment. This research conducted by the Institute of Environmental Biology at Utrecht University claims that massive patches of Azolla growing on the (then) freshwater surface of the Arctic Ocean consumed enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the global greenhouse effect to decline, eventually causing the formation of Ice sheets in Antarctica and the current “Icehouse period” which we are still in. This theory has been termed the Azolla event.


    See also: bioremediation

    Azolla can remove chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, and lead from effluent. It can remove lead from solutions containing 1–1000 ppm.[23]

    See also

    • Aquatic plant
    • The Azolla Foundation
    • Azolla Philippines
    • Azolla Indonesia
    • List of companion plants


    1. ^ Jump up to:ab In: Encyclopédie Méthodique, Botanique 1(1): 343. 1783. “Name – Azolla Lam.”. Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved February 19, 2010. Annotation: a sp. nov. reference for Azolla filiculoides
      Type Specimens HT: Azolla filiculoides
    2. Jump up^ “Name – Azolla Lam. subordinate taxa”. Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
    3. Jump up^ “Query Results for Genus Azolla“. IPNI. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
    4. Jump up^ Hussner, A. (2006). “NOBANIS — Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet — Azolla filiculoides” (PDF). Online Database of the North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species. Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
    5. ^ Jump up to:abcdef Arnold, C.A. (1955). “A Tertiary Azolla from British Columbia” (PDF). Contributions from the Museum of. Paleontology, University of Michigan. 12 (4): 37–45.
    6. Jump up^ Vajda, V; McLoughlin, S. (2005). “A new Maastrichtian-Paleocene Azolla species from Bolivia, with a comparison of the global record of coeval Azolla microfossils”. Alcheringa: an Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. 29 (2): 305–329. doi:10.1080/03115510508619308.
    7. Jump up^ “Hasan, M. R. ; Chakrabarti, R., 2009. Use of algae and aquatic macrophytes as feed in small-scale aquaculture: A review. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture technical paper, 531. FAO, Rome, Italy”. Retrieved 18 August 2014. External link in |website= (help)
    8. Jump up^ “FAO figures”.
    9. Jump up^ “Mosquito Fern”. America’s Wetland Resource Center. Loyola University, New Orleans. Retrieved 2007-11-10.
    10. Jump up^ Wagner, G.M. (1997). “Azolla: a review of its biology and utilization”. Bot. Rev. 63: 1–26. doi:10.1007/BF02857915.
    11. Jump up^ Moore, A. W. (1969). “Azolla: Biology and agronomic significance”. Bot. Rev. 35: 17–35. doi:10.1007/BF02859886.
    12. Jump up^ Zimmerman, William J. (1985). “Biomass and Pigment Production in Three Isolates of Azolla II. Response to Light and Temperature Stress”. Ann. Bot. 56 (5): 701–709.
    13. Jump up^ Cohen, M.F.; Meziane, T.; Tsuchiya, M.; Yamasaki, H. (2002). “Feeding deterrence of Azolla in relation to deoxyanthocyanin and fatty acid composition” (PDF). Aquatic Botany. 74 (2): 181–187. doi:10.1016/S0304-3770(02)00077-3.
    14. Jump up^ Brinkhuis, H.; Schouten, S.; Collinson, M.E.; Sluijs, A.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Dickens, G.R.; Huber, M.; Cronin, T.M.; Onodera, J.; Takahashi, K.; et al. (2006). “Episodic fresh surface waters in the Eocene Arctic Ocean”. Nature. 441 (7093): 606–9. doi:10.1038/nature04692. PMID 16752440. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
    15. ^ Jump up to:ab Kempf, E.K. (1976). “Low Magnifications – A Marginal Area of Electron Microscopy”. ZEISS Information. 21 (83): 57–60.
    16. Jump up^ AN EVOLUTIONARY SURVEY OF THE PLANT KINGDOM, by Robert F. Scagel, Robert J. Bandoni, Glenn E. Rouse, W. B. Schofield, Janet R. Stein, and T. M. Taylor, 1965: Belmont, California, Wadsworth Publishing Co.,Inc., 658 pp.
    17. Jump up^ P. Kamalasanana Pillai, S. Premalatha and S. Rajamony. “Azolla – A sustainable feed substitute for livestock”. Farming Matters magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
    18. Jump up^ T.R. Preston and E. Murgueitio. “Sustainable intensive livestock systems for the humid t ropics”. FAO. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
    19. Jump up^ Sjodin, Erik (2012). The Azolla Cooking and cultivation Project. ISBN 978-9198068603.
    20. Jump up^ Erik Sjodin. “Azolla, BMAA, and Neurodegenerative Diseases”. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
    21. Jump up^ “The East discovers Azolla”. Azolla Foundation. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
    22. Jump up^ Myer, Landon; Okech, Bernard A.; Mwobobia, Isaac K.; Kamau, Anthony; Muiruri, Samuel; Mutiso, Noah; Nyambura, Joyce; Mwatele, Cassian; Amano, Teruaki (2008). Myer, Landon, ed. “Use of Integrated Malaria Management Reduces Malaria in Kenya”. PLoS ONE. 3 (12): e4050. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004050. PMC 2603594Freely accessible  Azolla - Chi Azolla 9px Lock green. PMID 19115000.
    23. Jump up^ Robert L. Irvine; Subhas K. Sikdar. Bioremediation Technologies: Principles and Practice. p. 102.
    • Scagel, R. F., Bandoni, R. J., Rouse, G. E., Schofield, W. B., Stein, J. R., & Taylor, T. M. C. (1966). An Evolutionary Survey of the Plant Kingdom. Wadsworth.

    External links

    • The Azolla Foundation: Azolla Non-Profit Information & Guidance Website
    • Azolla Philippines: A website dedicated to the distribution of Azolla for propagation as alternative livestock feed.
    • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Azolla
    • Flora of China: Azolla species list
    • Flora of North America: Azolla
    • Marriage Between A Fern & Cyanobacterium
    • NSW Flora online: Azolla