The Smallest Fruit in the World Is the Size of an Ant

This little plant is small but mighty.

watermealDory F/Shutterstock

Picture the smallest fruit you can think of. Is it a raisin? A cranberry? A blueberry so unripe it’s still green in color? Well, none of those is even close to being the smallest fruit out there. That honor belongs to the Wolffia globosa, more commonly known as the Asian watermeal.

The watermeal isn’t just the world’s smallest fruit—it’s the world’s smallest flowering plant, period. It’s a type of duckweed, and the minuscule fruit it produces is smaller than any other. At its biggest, the plant itself reaches about one-third of an inch, and the fruit is even tinier. Its size ranges from 0.7 to 1.5 millimeters. For comparison, that’s about the size of the Thief Ant, one of the world’s smallest ant species. If you were to hold the fruit, it would be nothing but a tiny speck in your hand. Not exactly an ideal edition to your fruit bowl. Here are some more (much bigger) exotic fruits you should add to your diet.

If you’re wondering whether a fruit that tiny can possibly have any nutritional value, the answer’s yes! Though itty-bitty, the watermeal fruit is packed with protein, and many Southeast Asian nations cultivate it regularly. While it may not make the list of the most filling fruits out there, a handful of it does make a great addition to smoothies, omelets, and soups. According to Mental Floss, the fruit tastes a bit like watercress.

If you’re hoping to add this puny plant to your diet, the most likely candidates to sell it would probably be Asian marketplaces. However, it’s unfortunately not a popular grocery store item—yet. Food Network recently pondered whether it could become “the new superfood,” claiming that grow-your-own-duckweed kits could soon become a reality. In the meantime, add these other surprising superfoods to your diet.

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.