Nuphar

Scientific name

Nuphar Sm.

Common names

spatterdock, yellow waterlily, cow lily

Family

Nymphaeaceae

Could be confused with

Nymphaea, Nymphoides, Ondinea

Native distribution

temperate Northern Hemisphere

Species commonly cultivated

Nuphar japonica DC. (Japan)

N. lutea (L.) Sm. (North America and Europe)

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

not usually weedy

Habit

attached rosette plant with submersed, floating, and occasionally emergent leaves

Brief description

Perennial. Stem a slender or stout rhizome, usually bearing old leaf scars. Leaves in a basal rosette arising from buried rhizome, submersed, floating, or emergent; petiole smooth, greatly elongate; leaf blade ovate, deeply sagittate to orbicular with deep sinus, venation palmate; margin entire. Inflorescence a large, solitary flower borne above water surface on a long pedicel. Sepals 6, imbricate, outer green, inner green or yellow; petals numerous, yellow, smaller than sepals, linear to oblong, scale-like to stamen-like, bearing nectary on abaxial surface; stamens numerous. Dispersal by seed or sometimes by daughter plants off rhizome.

Natural habitat

lakes, ponds, and streams

Additional comments

The taxonomy of Nuphar is poorly known; numerous subspecies are described, but the genus is poorly delimited. Its rhizome is edible and young leaves are used as tea.