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NYMPHAEACEAE

WATERLILY FAMILY

William J. Stone

Perennial, aquatic; caudex or rhizome generally horizontal, generally large
Leaves alternate, arising directly from caudex; petiole long; blades generally floating, submersed, or slightly emergent
Inflorescence: flowers solitary, axillary; peduncle long
Flowers generally bisexual; sepals 3–many, sometimes petal-like; petals 0–many, sometimes scale- or stamen-like, inserted on receptacle or side of ovary; stamens many, spirally arranged, filaments generally broad; ovary ± compound, superior to inferior, chambers 5–many, ovules many, styles finger-like or 0
Fruit spongy, berry-like
Genera in family: 6 genera, ± 60 species: worldwide.

NYMPHAEA

WATERLILY, WATER NYMPH

Rhizomes or tuber prostrate to erect
Leaf: blade generally floating, elliptic to round, generally deeply notched, upper surface glabrous, green, lower surface often red or purplish tinged
Flower generally showy, fragrant; sepals generally 4, < petals, ± green; petals 12–many, white, red, blue, or yellow; stamens many, inserted on elevated part of ovary, outer filaments flat, sometimes petal-like, inner filaments linear; ovary compound, partly inferior, styles many, finger-like, spreading outward from central depression
Seeds enclosed in spongy aril
Species in genus: ± 45 species: tropical, n hemisphere, s Africa, Australia
Etymology: (Greek: water-nymph)

Introduced

N. odorata Aiton

FRAGRANT or WHITE WATERLILY

Rhizome prostrate, not tuber-like
Leaf: blade 5–25 cm wide, ± round
Flower 5–15 cm, floating or ± emergent, very fragrant; sepals, petals lanceolate to ovate; petals generally > 20; outer stamens generally 3–4 mm, anthers of inner stamens 7–12 mm; styles generally 20
Fruit 2.5–3 cm, depressed spheric
Seed ± 2 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=84
Ecology: Quiet waters, ponds, edges of lakes
Elevation: generally < 2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Widely scattered, High Sierra Nevada (Lake Tahoe), Sacramento Valley (Butte Co.), San Bernardino Mountains, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: native to e N.America
Cult widely for ornamental. Weedy.

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