USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

Nymphaeaceae - The Water Lily Family

Aquatic perennials with large floating and often some emersed leaves; stem a thick, fleshy, submerged rhizome anchored in the substrate, the older portions decaying behind the growing apex. Leaves arranged in a close spiral on the rhizome, subpeltate, the blades large and leathery, oblong to oval or rotund in outline but with a sinus behind the petiole attachment to the blade; smaller, thin textured submersed leaves sometimes present, especially early in the growing season; petioles elongate, stout and tough. Flowers solitary on long peduncles, borne at or above the water surface, white or yellow, 4-20 cm across, perfect, regular, hypogynous to nearly epigynous; sepals 4-6, quite petaloid, green or greenish on the outside, white or yellow on the inside, when yellow usually reddish toward the base; petals numerous, either white, large and showy, or yellow, small and inconspicuous, spirally arranged, gradually passing into the stamens; stamens numerous, with flattened and often broadened filaments; carpels several to many, fused into a compound ovary, stigmas radiating from the center of the disklike summit of the ovary. Fruit fleshy and leathery, many-seeded, eventually breaking open under water.

Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Flowers yellow; leaf blades oblong to oval or subsagittate. Genus Nuphar
1 Flowers white; leaf blades rotund or nearly so. Genus Nymphaea

7. Nymphaeaceae, the Water Lily Family
1. Nuphar Small
1. Nuphar luteum (L.) Sibth. & Small -- Yellow water lily, spatterdock
2. Nymphaea L. -- Water Lily
1. Nymphaea odorata Ait. -- Fragrant white water lily
2. Nymphaea tuberosa Paine -- White water lily

Previous Section -- Class Magnoliopsida, Dicotyledons
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Ceratophyllaceae - The Hornwort Family

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 06:37:17 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]