Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Nymphaea odorata Ait.
NYMPHAEACEAE (Water Lily Family)
EtymologyNymphaea is from the Greek: nymphaia = water nymph; odorata is Latin for very fragrant.
Synonyms (Common Name)Fragrant Water Lily, Sweet-scented Water Lily, Pond-lily
DescriptionWhite water lily is admired for both its fragrant, white flowers and its round, lily pad leaves. A perennial, aquatic herb, its flowers and leaves float on the surface of quiet waters, rising on long, purple or red stalks from thick, horizontal rhizomes embedded in the mud.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
LeavesFloating; large (to 12" in diameter), round and platter-like; green above, purple below; notched at base, straight-edged lobes rarely overlap; veins radiate from base.
Flower/InflorescenceWhite (occasionally pink) with yellow centers; large (3-7" wide), showy, 17-25 petals, fragrant; float on surface on single stalk; open from early morning until noon.
Flowering PeriodJune-September
FruitBerry-like with many seeds, globe-shaped, fleshy; ripens under water.
HabitatLakes and ponds, slow streams.
RangeNewfoundland to Manitoba; south to Florida and Texas.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett