Water lily , family Nymphaeaceae , any of 58 species in 6 genera of freshwater plants native to the temperate and tropical parts of the world. Most species of water lilies have rounded, variously notched, waxy-coated leaves on long stalks that contain many air spaces and float in quiet freshwater habitats. The stalks arise from thick, fleshy, creeping underwater stems that are buried in the mud. The showy, fragrant, solitary flowers are borne at or above the water surface on long stalks that are attached to the underground stems. Each cuplike flower has a spiral arrangement of its numerous petals. The flowers of most species have many stamens male reproductive structures. Some flowers open only in the morning or in the evening to attract insect pollinators. The fruit is usually nutlike or berrylike.
Water lilies are the most popular aquatic blooming plants, and aside from being beautiful, they offer several benefits to ponds, lakes, and water features. Water lilies create shade in the water, which is beneficial to both fish and the health of the pond or lake. Shade will offer protection to fish during the hottest parts of the day, as well as giving them a place to hide from predators. Shaded water is also likely to have a reduced rate of algae growth. Water lilies help to keep the pond water aerated and clean, which will reduce the amount of time you have to spend on pond maintenance. The lily pads provide a place for some small pond creatures, such as frogs, to sit.
They live as rhizomatous aquatic herbs in temperate and tropical climates around the world. The family contains five genera with about 70 known species. The leaves are round, with a radial notch in Nymphaea and Nuphar , but fully circular in Victoria and Euryale. Water lilies are a well studied clade of plants because their large flowers with multiple unspecialized parts were initially considered to represent the floral pattern of the earliest flowering plants, and later genetic studies confirmed their evolutionary position as basal angiosperms. Analyses of floral morphology and molecular characteristics and comparisons with a sister taxon , the family Cabombaceae , indicate, however, that the flowers of extant water lilies with the most floral parts are more derived than the genera with fewer floral parts. Genera with more floral parts, Nuphar , Nymphaea , Victoria , have a beetle pollination syndrome , while genera with fewer parts are pollinated by flies or bees , or are self- or wind-pollinated. Water lilies do not have surface leaves during winter, and therefore the gases in the rhizome lacunae access equilibrium with the gases of the sediment water. The leftover of internal pressure is embodied by the constant streams of bubbles that outbreak when rising leaves are ruptured in the spring. The Nymphaeaceae are aquatic, rhizomatous herbs. The family is further characterized by scattered vascular bundles in the stems, and frequent presence of latex , usually with distinct, stellate-branched sclereids projecting into the air canals.
These aquatic plants look beautiful in water gardens large and small. Here's what you need to know to care for them. Including a small pond or decorative pool in your garden can instantly make your yard look more magical, and a few water lilies Nymphaea spp. In addition to their beauty, a few water lilies can also help keep a backyard pond healthy; the shade they provide helps shelter fish and keep the water looking crystal clear by preventing algae from growing. Water lilies aren't just for ponds, though. Hardy varieties will grow in most parts of the U. You don't necessarily need a pond for growing water lilies; they'll also thrive in a big tub like a stock tank on your patio. They grow from tubers planted in pots beneath the water and send up stems with rounded leaves and star-shaped blossoms that float on the surface. A good choice for beginners , hardy lilies are dependable and easy to plant. They blossom in the morning and close after sunset, usually lasting three or four days before sinking back beneath the surface.