Water Lily, Lily Pad

(Nymphaea odorata, Nymphaea elegans, Nymphaea mexicana)

Native

Water Lily is rooted with large round leaves that have a notch in them; it flowers in summer.

Description

Water Lilies have large (six to 12 inches in diameter) round leaves that are green on top, reddish or purple on bottom, and have a slit in the middle. Leaves float on top of the water. Water Lily flowers are typically white or yellow, rise above the water with eight to 25 petals around a yellow center, bloom in morning and close midafternoon. Stems are thick, green, and rooted to the bottom in up to five feet of water. Water Lily leaf stalks are round, approximately one inch in diameter; flowers emerge from their own stalks connected directly to the rhizome.

Deer sometimes eat the leaves of Yellow Water Lilies, but most often ducks eat the seeds and rodents such as muskrats and nutria eat the roots. The large leaves of lilies offer shelter for Largemouth Bass and Sunfish. Lilies are popular ornamental plants for water gardens but are highly invasive. The thick stems and extremely long root systems make cutting or hand-pulling nearly impossible. Spraying the large leaves with an aquatic herbicide allows for the product to dry on the leaves and then absorb into the root system.

Location

Water Lilies grow across the United States.

Propagation

Seeds, rhizomes