fragrant waterlily

(Nymphaea odorata ssp. odorata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

 

No image available

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Water less than 7 deep

Flowering

July to September

     
Flower Color

White

     
Height

Up to 7

     

Identification

This is a floating, perennial aquatic that rises up to 7 from a frequently branched, creeping rhizome and fibrous roots. The rhizome is not constricted at the branch nodes. It often forms colonies.

The leaves are all alternate and rise directly from the rhizome on a long stalk (petiole). The petiole is slender to stout and uniformly green or reddish-purple, not striped. It is round in cross section, not flattened. The leaf floats on the surface of the water, though in the spring it is submersed. The petiole is attached to the center of the underside of the blade. The blade is thick, leathery, egg-shaped to almost circular, 4 to 16 long, and 4 to 16 wide. At the base of the blade there is a very narrow slit from the margin to the petiole. There are 6 to 27 principal veins radiating from the center to the margin. There is no central web of veins between the principal veins. The upper surface is hairless and green. The lower surface is hairless and deeply reddish-purple, occasionally greenish. The margins are untoothed and sometimes strongly wavy.

The inflorescence is a single flower floating on the water surface, at the end of a long stalk arising directly from the rhizome. The flower stalk resembles the leaf stalk.

The flowers are 2 to 6 in diameter when open. There are 4 sepals that rest on the surface of the water. They are egg-shaped to egg lance-shaped, 1 to 3 long, and to 1 wide. The outer side, visible when the flower is closed, is green. The inner side, visible when the flower is open, is greenish-white. There are 17 to 43 white, rarely pink, petals. They are lance-shaped to elliptic, to 1¼ long, and to wide. The outermost petals have a broadly rounded tip and are arranged in a whorl of 4. The remaining petals are arranged in a spiral. There are 35 to 120 yellow stamens with yellow anthers. The filaments of the outer stamens are winged and are wider than the anthers. Those of the inner stamens are narrower than the anthers. The flower opens in the early morning and closes around noon. It lasts 3 or 4 days.

The fruit is gobe-shaped. It matures underwater.

 
Similar
Species

American white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata ssp. tuberosa) rhizomes are often constricted at the nodes forming detachable tubers. The petioles are green with brownish-purple stripes. The lower leaf surface is green, sometimes faintly tinged with purple.

American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) leaves and flowers stand up to 12 above the water. The leaves are larger, up to 24 in diameter, and are not split. The flowers are pale yellow and somewhat larger.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 4.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Nymphaeaceae (water-lily)

 

Genus:

Nymphaea

 

Subgenus:

Nymphaea

 

Section:

Nymphaea

 
Parent

American white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata)

 
Synonyms

Castalia lekophylla

Castalia minor

Castalia odorata

Castalia reniformis

Nymphaea minor

Nymphaea odorata var. gigantea

Nymphaea odorata var. godfreyi

Nymphaea odorata var. minor

Nymphaea odorata var. rosea

Nymphaea odorata var. stenopetala

Nymphaea odorata var. villosa

 
Common
Names

American white water lily

American white water-lily

American white waterlily

fragrant water lily

white water lily


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

Petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       

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