American white waterlily

(Nymphaea odorata ssp. tuberosa)

Conservation Status
American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  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

     
           
 
Description
 
 

American white waterlily is a floating, perennial aquatic that rises up to 7 from a frequently branched, creeping rhizome and fibrous roots. The rhizome is often constricted at the branch nodes, forming detachable tubers. It often forms colonies.

The leaves are all alternate and rise directly from the rhizome on a long stalk (petiole). The petiole is stout and green with brownish-purple stripes. 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 green, sometimes faintly tinged with purple. 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 elliptic to inversely lance-shaped, 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

Up to 7

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Fragrant waterlily (Nymphaea odorata ssp. odorata) rhizomes are not constricted at the nodes. The petioles are uniformly green or reddish-purple, not striped. The lower leaf surface is dark reddish-purple, occasionally greenish.

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.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Water less than 7 deep

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

July to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

3, 4, 5, 7, 24.

 
  1/9/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Superorder Nymphaeanae  
 

Order

Nymphaeales (water-lilies, fanworts, and allies)  
 

Family

Nymphaeaceae (water-lily)  
  Genus Nymphaea (water-lily)  
  Subgenus Nymphaea  
  Section Nymphaea  
  Species Nymphaea odorata (American white waterlily)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Castalia tuberosa

Nymphaea odorata var. maxima

Nymphaea tuberosa

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

American white water lily

American white water-lily

American white waterlily

fragrant water lily

tuberous 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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Wayne Rasmussen
       
  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Habitat

  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)   American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)
       

Plant

  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)   American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)
       
  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)   American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)
       

Flower

  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)   American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)
       

Leaves

  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)   American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)
       
  American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)    
       
       

 

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Wayne Rasmussen
6/9/2016

Location: Joy Park & Preserve in Maplewood, MN

American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)


     
     
 
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