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Biology major Crutchfield tackles duckweed in senior presentation

June 15, 2010
By cnp
Posted in Biology

Clarksville, Ark. --- If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. But what about duckweed?

Taylor Crutchfield conducted her senior biology research on how the common water plant, duckweed, could be used to help purify contaminated water.

Botanically assigned to the Lemnaceae family, duckweed is the smallest flowering plant in the world. But while an individual duckweed plant may measure only a few millimeters in size, interest in the plant is growing, as more scientists seek to unlock the potential of this diminutive plant. As pointed out by John W. Cross in his book The Charms of Duckweed:

Duckweed, botanically of the Lemnaceae family, are the smallest flowering plants in the world. Taylor’s research measured how well the plant survived in different samples of contaminated water.*

Crutchfield, who served as Residence Hall Association president and played defender for the Eagles women’s soccer team, says her future plans include the possibility of a year in Americorps – a U.S. federal government public service program in which participants gain life and job skills, such as leadership, teamwork, time-management, and hands-on experience in a field of interest. After that? She says medical school looks like a good option to her. We’re betting she’s right.

* Image courtesy of the USGS (