Wolffia globosa - (Roxb.) Hartog. & Plas.
Common Name Khai Nam
Family Araceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[238 ].
Habitats Floating on quiet waters[204 ]. A rare native of southern Britain, growing in still waters[17 ].
Range Tropical areas of Africa and Asia, widely naturalised in other warm regions of the world.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Wet Soil Water Plants Full sun

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Wolffia globosa, commonly known as Khai Nam or Water-Eggs, is a very small aquatic herb with free floating fronds. It is a tropical and subtropical plant and one of the smallest flowering plants worldwide. It is a cultivated vegetable crop in Laos, Burma, and Thailand. The edible leaves have an excellent flavor and are very nutritious. No plant part is of medicinal use.

Wolffia globosa Khai Nam

Wolffia globosa Khai Nam
Andrey Zharkikh from Salt Lake City, USA wikimedia.org
Physical Characteristics
Wolffia globosa is an evergreen Perennial at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers wet soil and can grow in water.


Edible Uses
Leaves - cooked. An excellent flavour, they taste somewhat like a sweet cabbage[183 ]. The leaves are very nutritious, containing about 20% protein, 44% carbohydrate. 5% fat and are rich in vitamins A, B2, B6, C and nicotinic acid[183 ].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses
Other Uses None known
Cultivation details
A pond plant, it requires a sunny position in still water that is rich in nitrates and lime[200 ]. It over-winters in temperate areas by means of resting buds which sink to the bottom of the pond in the late autumn and rise again in the spring[200 ]. Reports for the uses of this plant are often wrongly cited under Wolffia arrhiza[301 ].
Seed - we have no information on this species but, since it can spread rapidly by division, it really needs no extra help once it is in a pond.
Other Names
Khai nae, Khai-nam, Kipum, Mijinko-uki-kusa, Wu gen ping,
Found In
Africa, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Philippines, SE Asia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Wolffia arrhizaLeast Duckweed, Spotless watermeal40


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Expert comment
(Roxb.) Hartog. & Plas.
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Wolffia globosa  

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