Azolla Aquatic Fern


Azolla is gaining popularity for the sustainable production of livestock feed. Azolla is rich in protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

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Azolla is palatable to chickens, pigs, goats, ducks and cows, and can be grown on any closed body of water. Farmers in Kenya are quickly warming up to Azolla to reduce their feeding costs. Azolla is easy to grow in Kenya, because you only need a source of stagnant water, Azolla seeds or exsisting azolla plant, and some manure material which will be sprinkled in the water.

Azolla Growth

Azolla doubles in growth every 72 hours if it is well-nourished with yields of 2kg/day in a 4 to 4.5 m2 pond with 10-15 cm depth. Azolla can be maintained by adding one kilogram of cow dung or goat pellets and an optional two 80-100 grams of superphosphate every two weeks.

Characteristics of Azolla

Azolla is an aquatic fern consisting of a short, branched, floating stem, bearing roots that hang down in the water. The leaves are alternately arranged, each consisting of a thick aerial dorsal lobe containing green chlorophyll and a slightly larger thin, colourless, floating ventral lobe.

Under some conditions, an anthocyanin pigment gives the fern a reddish-brown colour. Plant diameter ranges from 1cm -2.5 cm for small species such as Azolla pinnata, to 15 cm or more for Azolla nilotica. Azolla plants are triangular or polygonal in shape, and float on the surface of the water, individually or in mats.



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