Harvesting Wolffia globosa In Thailand

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Harvesting Wolffia globosa In Thailand

Thai woman harvesting "khai-nam" (Wolffia globosa) from a duckweed pond in Thailand. "Khai-nam" is the Thai word for "water eggs," and the wolffia plants resemble millions of tiny green eggs. They contain about 40 percent protein (dry weight), about the same protein content as soy beans. Like legumes, wolffia contains high levels of all essential amino acids except methionine. In addition to northern Thailand, wolffia has been harvested for food for many generations in Burma and Laos. See: "Wolffia arrhiza as a Possible Source Of Inexpensive Protein by K. Bhanthumnavin and M.G. McGarry (Nature 232: 495. 13 August 1971). I have examined a sample of "khai-nam" from Thailand and it appears to be W. globosa rather than W. arrhiza.

Close-up views of Wolffia globosa in San Diego County. The plant body of this species is smaller and more cylindrical than W. arrhiza. According to E. Landolt, Biosystematic Investigations in the Family of Duckweeds, Veroff. Geobot. Inst. ETH 70 (1980), W. arrhiza occurs in Europe, Africa and western Asia, but not southeastern Asia.

See Backlit Image of Wolffia arrhiza
Selected Images of Wolffia globosa
Wolffia arrhiza cf. W. globosa.

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