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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

Nymphaea L. -- Water Lily


Large flowered plants from stout rhizomes, these sometimes with lateral tubers. Leaf blades nearly always floating, seldom some emersed, rotund or nearly so, with a narrow V-shaped sinus behind the petiole attachment to the blade; petioles not flattened or winged. Flowers white and showy, 7-25 cm across, usually opening in morning and closing in afternoon, remaining open on cool days; sepals 4, greenish; petals numerous and overlapping, white, gradually passing into the stamens; stamens numerous, the outer ones with broadened, petaloid filaments, anthers yellow, the spiral of petals and stamens encroaching up the sides of the ovary so that the flower is nearly epigynous; ovary concave at its summit with a rounded protuberance projecting from the center, stigmas usually 10-25, radiating from the center, overarched by finger-like projections around the margin of the stigmatic disk. Fruit subglobose, covered with the persistent petal and stamen bases, maturing under water; seeds numerous, each enveloped by a saclike aril.

Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Petals elliptic, broadest near the middle, tapered to a subacute tip; flowers usually fragrant; rhizome lacking tubers. N. odorata
1 Petals oblanceolate to spatulate, broadest above the middle, obtuse to rounded at the tip; flowers scarely if at all fragrant; rhizome with lateral tubers. N. tuberosa


7. Nymphaeaceae, the Water Lily Family
2. Nymphaea L. -- Water Lily
1. Nymphaea odorata Ait. -- Fragrant white water lily
2. Nymphaea tuberosa Paine -- White water lily


Return to Family -- Nymphaeaceae - The Water Lily Family
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