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There's a few questions on this site based around the fastest growing plant of a specific type (vegetable, tree etc.) but can anyone give me a list of the fastest growing plants by mass. To be clear I mean the plant that (once mature if appropriate) increases in mass by the greatest percentage.

Bonus points for anyone providing a list of different plants!

  • Clarification please, for fruits and veg, do you mean exclusively the edible parts or the whole plant? – Escoce Feb 17 '16 at 14:42
  • I mean the entire plant, including roots, stem etc. Basically all the mass of the plant – FraserOfSmeg Feb 17 '16 at 17:07
  • Well you are going to run into the situation where circumstance makes a huge difference. For instance tomatoes are annuals where it freezes, but are perennials in the tropics. There was an indeterminate tomatoe plant at Disney that was trellised to crazy proportions and they harvested something along the lines of 100 or more tomatoes per day from it, but that's unusual. – Escoce Feb 17 '16 at 17:11
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Some of the large tropical bamboos will put out new growth at a rate of 3' a day (about 1" every 40 minutes),1 which when it is a stalk diameter of over 8-10" is really rather impressive (eventually reaching over 100' in height). They can do this because of their huge, aggressive rhizome system. The new stalks come up like an asparagus stalk, then stretch and open up once they are the mature height, doing almost no growing after that point.

Giant sequoias do grow over 4' a year when young (not as fast as others, but still noticeable). I'm mentioning because the mature ones are going to be the plants that put on the most average yearly mass (as per your question).

Other than that, the only thing that, you have kudzu vines (up to 1' a day - but much more slender), Hybrid poplar (up to 10' a year), and if you count algae, it's blooms put on enormous quantities of mass in less than a day.

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I think duckweed may take the prize for daily increase (of course, it's aquatic, and individually tiny - but it grows like mad.) Then again, possibly algae of some sort do better.

Kelp or bamboo win in the "linear growth per day" sort of sweepstakes. With bamboo, it very much depends on the day, though.

Giant sequoia presumably win the "seed to plant mass" unless that 4 mile mushroom from a presumably much lighter spore gets to compete; and since it purports to be the largest living organism, I guess if it plays, it wins.

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    Yeah, duckweed can complete it's lifecycle in 30 hours' – J. Musser Feb 17 '16 at 23:13
  • I dunno about the mushroom. That's really more a colony than a single organism. – Escoce Feb 18 '16 at 15:06
  • A genetically identical colony, in the same way that this is one organism atlasobscura.com/places/pando-the-trembling-giant the Pando Aspen colony. Arguably one organism in each case. Aspens have a growth rate of 2' a year & with 10s of thousands of connected "Pandos", yearly increase in mass is, well, massive. I say Pando for the win. – renesis Feb 18 '16 at 19:32
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I don't know if it's quite what you mean. Rhubarb when in forcing sheds you can hear growing (it crackles) it's so quick.

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