American White Water-lily (Nympheae odorata)

American White Water-lily (Nympheae odorata) 

The American White Water-lily (Nympheae odorata) has not been found in French Hill Pond but could become established because it is very common on other bodies of water on Mount Desert Island. This plant is also called Fragrant Water Lily, White Water-lily, and Pond-lily. It is a member of the Water Lily Family (Nymphaeaceae). The order to which these plants belong is the Nymphaeales.

The flower of this aquatic, floating plant is very large, up to six inches (15centimeters) wide. There are often more than two dozen large white petals up to four inches (10 centimeters) long and four green to reddish sepals. Sometimes the petals can be pink. In the center of the flower are a large number (35 to 120) of yellow stamens and many (10 to 25) pistils. The flowers form on the top of a leafless stem. They are closed at night, open in the morning and close again in the afternoon. This plant flowers from June to September.

American White Water-lily (Nympheae odorata) Detail

The leaves of these plants are almost round with a narrow notch that extends about one third the distance to the center of the leaf. They can have a diameter of four inches (10 centimeters) to twelve inches (30 centimeters). The color of the leaf is a dark green on top but red to purple beneath. The leaf stalks are large and contain passage ways for gasses to pass to the large root system.

 American White Water-lily (Nympheae odorata) Leaves


The fruit is a fleshy mass that develops under water and contains many seeds.

The root system is rhizomic.

American White Water-lilies are eaten by ducks, geese, turtles and beavers. Frogs and fish use the leaves as shelter. Bullfrogs and Green Frogs may sit still on a large leaf in hope of being camouflaged.  


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