Presented in Association with the Western New Mexico University Department
of Natural Sciences
Azollaceae (Azolla Family)
The Azollaceae are aquatic ferns of small size. The stems are branching, with minute leaves. The emergent leaves are green and photosynthetic except when stressed, when they may turn red. Unlike most ferns, the Azollaceae bear sexual spores. As far as is known, Azolla mexicana is the only species of Azolla in the Gila National Forest. Azollas have symbiotic relationship with a cyanobacterium called Anabaena azollae, which is a nitrogen fixing bacterium. Anabaena azollae live in special areas within the leaves.