Discover the 6 Smallest Flowers in the World

Close up of Queen Anne's Lace flower blooming in the summertime.
Antho B/Shutterstock.com

Written by Angie Menjivar

Published: April 7, 2023

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Flowers lift spirits, decorate gardens, grow wildly, and inspire poets and painters alike. There’s meaning in their colors and types and their petals and scents vary across different species. There are some with dark-colored tones and others with bright, bold colors that immediately capture attention. There are also flowers that don’t take center stage and often go unnoticed. They may be delicate as lace throughout a thoughtfully made bouquet or they may add a misty effect to blooming gardens. Below, we invite you to discover the six smallest flowers in the world.

The 6 Smallest Flowers in the World

1. Watermeal

Scientific Name: Wolffia
Native to: North America, including Canada, the contiguous U.S., and Puerto Rico

Watermeal

Watermeal is the smallest flower in the world.

Watermeal is an aquatic plant that takes the number one spot for the smallest flower found throughout the world. These flowers have no roots and call bodies of water home. Usually, they huddle together in bright greens and yellows and float over a large surface of the water, absorbing nearly all the oxygen available. These flowers are a part of the Lemnaceae family. If you’ve ever asked for sprinkles on your cupcake or your ice cream cone, you know how tiny a single sprinkle is. That’s about the size of a single watermeal flower! To imagine how light it is, it only weighs the same as two grains of salt.

2. Kenilworth Ivy

Scientific Name: Cymbalaria muralis
Native to: Southern Europe

Kenilworth ivy on large rocks

Kenilworth ivy reaches only up to five centimeters tall, making it one of the smallest flowers in the world.

Kenilworth ivy is a part of the Plantaginaceae family. This flowering vine thrives in moisture-filled environments where the weather is cool (it’s even frost tolerant!). It reaches up to five centimeters tall and the flowers are lilac, appearing almost like tiny snapdragons. These bloom at the start of the summer season in May through September. Bees may pollinate Kenilworth ivy, but this plant is unique in that it is also self-fertile. The flowering vines grow in multiple places, including gardens, roadsides, and where there are gaps between moist walls. They look great as a ground cover and may also add a delicate, charming touch to a hanging basket.

3. Forget-Me-Not

Scientific Name: Myosotis
Native to: Eurasia, New Zealand, North America and South America, and Papua New Guinea

Bright Forget Me Not flowers

Forget-me-not flowers reach up to one centimeter in diameter and are one of the smallest flowers in the world.

Forget-me-not flower petals similarly resemble the shape of a mouse’s ears. This is an herbaceous plant that is a part of the Boraginaceae family and that can grow up to a foot tall. Different varieties produce different colored flowers, including blue, white, pink, and yellow. They cluster together but remain flat and open. They have yellow centers that are only about one centimeter in diameter. The pods of these flowers look like tulips and contain seeds. These small flowers attract several pollinators, including butterflies and bees. During the day, there’s no particularly alluring fragrance to the flowers but with nightfall, it’s as if they take out their favorite perfume and start emitting an enjoyable scent.  

4. Baby’s Breath

Scientific Name: Gypsophila
Native to: Eurasia, Australia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands

Baby's breath on a pink background- one of the smallest flowers in the world

Baby’s breath is one of the smallest flowers in the world.

Baby’s breath flowers grow grouped together on tall stems. They belong to the Caryophyllaceae family, and the flowers are typically pink or white, extending to five petals per flower. These flowers gracefully decorate gardens and bouquets, serving to add an ethereal appeal to existing arrangements. They bloom during the spring and summer seasons and tolerate full and partial sun well. They require light, fertile soil with good drainage. If it’s dry, they need plenty of moisture to thrive. They make it up to 20 inches tall and the leaves are a complementary bluish-green color.

5. Black Swallow-Wort

Scientific Name: Cynanchum louiseae
Native to: Europe

Black swallow-wort flower

The bold, dark black swallow-wort is actually a dark purple color versus black and is one of the smallest flowers in the world.

Although many flowers that bloom are light-colored and bold-colored, black swallow-wort is a bit different. The petals on these flowers are dark purple, appearing almost black, and have fine white hairs on them. They require plenty of sunlight to flourish into the star shapes that distinguish them. The flowers themselves measure about ¼ inch wide and they sit atop winding green stems. These flowers are a part of the Apocynaceae family and can typically be found naturally growing in old fields and woodlands. They bloom in the middle and later part of summer during the months of June and July.

6. Black Medick

Scientific Name: Medicago lupulina
Native to: Europe, North Africa, India, China, and Korea

Black medick flower

Black medick flowers grow up to 1/4 of an inch across, qualifying them as one of the smallest flowers in the world.

These flowers, though small, use their strength in numbers to make a bold statement. They’re a part of the Leguminosae family and bunch together into groups of up to 50 flowers that can measure up to ¼ of an inch across. They are bright yellow and can grow up to a foot and a half tall. Their stems may be either reddish-green or light green and littered with fine white hairs. They often bloom around pastures, roadsides, and prairies. They prefer full sun and start to bloom during the spring season in April all the way through the start of fall in September.


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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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