What Is The Smallest And Lighest Fruit In The World?

By Joseph Kiprop on October 1 2018 in Environment

Wolffia seeds.
Wolffia seeds.

Nature keeps seeds in a botanical configuration known as fruits, which come in an infinite variety of sizes and shapes. Some of the smallest fruits in the world include the figs of the mustard seed and drupelets of the blackberries family. None of these small fruits come closer to the tiniest fruit in the world. The title is held by the smallest flowering plants in the world, which produce the smallest and the lightest of all the fruits in the world. These astonishing minute plants are of the Wolffia genus and duckweed (Lemnacea) family and do not have roots. Typically, these remarkable plants are found floating in calm ponds and streams. In botanical dichotomy, the fruit of these minute plants are indehiscent, one-seeded, bladder-like, and are known as Utricles.

Members of Wolffia Species

The Wolffia genus is comprised of several species, about eleven in total. However, the most known are Wolffia angusta and Wolffia globosa, and this is because they are the smallest in this category. Distinguishing between the two is not easy which would perhaps explain why they are the most prominent members of the Wolffia species. Wolffia angusta is found in Australia, and it is about 0.001 inches, roughly the size of a grain of salt with a weight of around 0.000025 ounces. This is about the size of the microscopic body cells of most plants and animals. Wolffia globosa can be found in ponds across Africa and Asia, a tiny fruit emerging for the first time after fertilization has been likened to the eye of a needle.

Plant Size

Despite being the smallest fruit in the world in comparison to other fruits, when it comes to the relationship between Wolffia fruit and its parent plant, the fruit is one of the largest in the world since it is produced by the smallest flowering plants that have no roots or stems. The flower grows on a depression-like part on the surface of the plant with one stamen that is the male part of the flower and one pistil, the female part. These plants are sometimes referred to as watermeal, and they float on the water in pairs or more to form a covering or layer like a mat as is the case with most plants that grow on water surfaces.


Plants, seeds, and fruits are composed of several nutrients depending on the family they belong. The plants in the Wolffia species may be small, but they are a big source of protein. They are made of up to 40% protein.

Economic Importance

These mighty micro plants grow so fast and taste like watercress is thought to be a potential source of food for all given that it multiplies so quickly. Presently it is under investigation as a possible source of biofuel, because it has the advantage of carbon neutral, implying that it removes carbon from the atmosphere. Besides, it can be used to purify water and balance the levels of Nitrogen and phosphorus. The plants can also clean the environment of heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic. Finally, these wonderful plants are being studied as a possible source of food for space travel because of its nutritional values.

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