image EL_L3_47_013
Image number: RS.15794
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Observations of duckweed


25 December 1702


Unknown, Artist

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 154mm
width (page): 175mm



Seven figures in a letter by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek to the Royal Society. The images were made by a draftsman.

Fig. 1: duckweed plant of of normal size, as observed with the naked eye by the draftsman.
Fig. 2: duckweed plant when floating in a glass tube so that the roots become visible.
Fig. 3: a small part of the root of a duckweed plant as it was observed through the microscope by the draftsman.
Fig. 4: an animalcule, twice as large as it appears seen by the naked eye.
Fig. 5: a tentacle of the animalcule.
Fig. 6: an extended tentacle of the animalcule.
Fig. 7: an unborn duckweed plant taken from a half-grown one (say the size of C in fig. 1).

Object history

The Journal Book mentions on 17 February 1702/3, 'The Translation of a Letter from Mr Leeuwenhoeck, concerning a Water-Weed, & Animalcula growing to it, was Read. He was Order'd to be thanked, as also was Mr. Chamberlayne who translated it' (JBO/11/12).

Printed in:
A. Leeuwenhoek, ‘Green weeds growing in water, and some animalcula found about them’, Phil. Trans. vol. 23, no. 283 (January and February 1703), pp. 1304-11. Figs 6-12.

Related Fellows

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723, Dutch), Naturalist

Associated place

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