Growth and survival of Azolla filiculoides in Britain. II. Sexual reproduction.
In laboratory experiments, increasing plant density and/or phosphorus supply resulted in increased sporulation in A. filiculoides. It was estimated that a thick mat of 8 kg/m2 fresh biomass can produce 380 000 microsporocarps and 85 000 megasporocarps per m2. Light and temperatures >10°C were necessary for sporocarp germination. Sporocarps could survive exposure to both low temperatures (5°C for at least 3 months) and sub-zero temperatures (-10°C for at least 18 d). Sporocarps were found to survive storage in water for 3 years and to germinate from mud samples collected in the field. In laboratory culture, sporeling growth and survival were optimal at 15°C. There is some evidence that A. filiculoides might have adapted to the British climate since its introduction.