Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Presented in Association with the
Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences

Azolla mexicana Schlechtendal & Chamisso ex K. Presl
(Mexican Mosquito Fern)

Family: Azollaceae

Status: Native

Synonyms:
None

Azolla mexicana is a small aquatic fern. It bears two kinds of spore bearing structures, called sporocarps. The male sporocarp is much larger and contains many sporangia, which in turn contain many spores. The smaller female sporocarp contains only one spore. Azolla mexicana can also grow in streamside mud. Each leaf has two lobes, an upper green or red photosynthetic lobe that has a colorless margin, and a lower translucent cup shaped lobe. The upper lobe has a chamber within which Anabaena azollae, a nitrogen fixing cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) grows.
Please click on an image for a larger file.



Azolla mexicana, photo Russ Kleinman & Danielle Walkup, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, July 17, 2008



Azolla mexicana, micro of whole plant, photo Russ Kleinman & Danielle Walkup, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, July 17, 2008



Azolla mexicana, male sporocarps containing sporangia, photo Russ Kleinman & Danielle Walkup, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, July 17, 2008



Azolla mexicana, ruptured male sporocarp releasing sporangia, photo Russ Kleinman & Danielle Walkup, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, July 17, 2008



Azolla mexicana, male sporocarps with female sporocarp, photo Russ Kleinman & Danielle Walkup, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, July 17, 2008



Azolla mexicana, streambank growth habit (in streamside mud), photo Russ Kleinman, Bill Norris & Denise Friedrick, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, June 7, 2009



Azolla mexicana, 3x macro of upper leaf lobes, photo Russ Kleinman, Bill Norris & Denise Friedrick, Burro Mtns., Pancho Canyon, June 7, 2009



Azolla mexicana, DAZ herbarium, collector Dale A. Zimmerman 4235, 7 November 1992, Gila River near Bill Evans Lake


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