Plant Profile: The Water Lily
Scientific name: Nymphaea
The water lily is genus of 70 aquatic flowering plants found in freshwater areas in temperate and tropical climates around the world. Water lilies are characterized by their spectacular waxy flowers and leaves (lily pads) that float on the water surface, while their fleshy tubers are well rooted into the soil.
These beautiful aquatic flowers range in colour, size and shape. Flowers come in a variety of colours, including red, purple, blue, orange white, pink and yellow. The flowers are often fragrant.
Water lilies can be classified into two main categories: hardy and tropical. Tropical water lilies don't like cold conditions, while hardy water lilies are cold-tolerant. Hardy water lilies bloom during the day, while tropical ones can bloom either during the day or night.
In frost-free regions, they will bloom all year round. In other areas, water lilies will produce flowers from spring until fall. Throughout the growing season, the plant will produce new leaves.
They do best in full sun.
Interesting Water Lily Facts:
- when the water lily is pollinated, the flower and stem will sink into the water and a berry-like fruit will develop
- inspired by his water garden, Claude Monet created a series of 250 paintings of water lilies
- water lilies can help reduce the growth of algae in ponds and lakes
- the white water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh
- the Blue Water Lily is the national flower of Sri Lanka
- the largest water lily is the Giant Water Lily, which can be found in the Amazon. The flowers are a 1 feet wide and the leaves can spread 8 feet across!
- most varieties are pollinated by beetles
- water lilies are edible; the young leaves and unopened buds can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable
- the white water lily has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat diarrhea, sore throats and it is thought to have antibiotic and astringent properties