All images courtesy of Robert Baldock, Honorary Research Associate at the State Herbarium of South Australia.
There’s been some concern this week about the large, bright green bloom in the pond in Rymill Park – some fear it might be toxic, either to the ducks which frequent the pond, or to humans.
But rest easy – Professor Michelle Waycott, Chief Botanist of the State Herbarium of South Australia, has people on the job. Staff went to Rymill Park, took samples to analyse, and found the bloom contained nothing worse than two species of duckweed and one harmless green algae.
One of the duckweed species, from the genus Wolffia (Wolffia Australiana), is the smallest flowering plant on earth. Lemna, the ‘larger’ one, is still less than 2 mm in diameter when mature.
These plants also provide food for the birds, so Professor Waycott suggests that there will be a fair bit of waterbird activity around the pond in the next few weeks, as the birds descend on a waterborne buffet.