The plant is an aquatic fern that is commonly found in still water bodies in Tasmania.
It grows remarkably quickly, doubling its size every 3 days. What is most astonishing about this plant is the fact that it is capable of drawing down approximately a tonne of nitrogen per acre per year as well as 6 tonnes per acre of carbon dioxide.
Azolla is thought to have grown in the Arctic Ocean 50 million years ago, pulling 3,000 parts per million carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in 800,000 years. This event is thought to have transformed the planet from a “greenhouse earth” to the “icehouse earth” that we live in now.
The Azolla plant's capabilities display an opportunity to harness the world's natural capacities to tackle climate change. By creating appropriate circumstances for the Azolla plant to grow and thrive, we have the potential to offset carbon emissions - perhaps reducing the impacts of climate change.
Additionally, could cultivation of Azolla present new opportunities for the agriculture industry?