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  1. Family: Nymphaeaceae Salisb.
    1. Nymphaea L.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Cosmopolitan.


    Nymphaeaceae, F. A. Mendoça. Flora Zambesiaca 1:1. 1960

    Robust or delicate aquatic herbs, rhizome often tuberous.
    Leaves large or medium, floating, emergent or submerged, lamina suborbicular to elliptic, deeply cordate, peltate, palmatinerved.
    Sepals 4 (sometimes appearing more numerous owing to the presence of ± sepaloid petals).
    Petals 5-numerous.
    Stamens perigynous; filaments petaloid; anthers obtuse or appendiculate owing to a prolongation of the connective.
    Carpels numerous, pluriovulate.
    Fruit fleshy, ripening under water.
    Seeds small, surrounded by a pulpy, sack-like aril open at the top.

    Nymphaeaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1989

    Delicate to robust aquatic herbs with usually stout often tuberous rhizomes
    Leaves small to large, floating, emergent, or submerged, usually ± round or oval, often slightly to distinctly peltate, cordate, palmately nerved, entire to dentate; stipules present
    Sepals 4 (but ± sepaloid petals can be present), ± green
    Petals 5–numerous, inserted at successively higher levels on the ovary, the outermost usually equalling or shorter than the sepals, the innermost shorter and narrower and grading into the stamens
    Stamens numerous, the outer with broad petaloid filaments, all inserted towards the top of the ovary; anthers obtuse or with connective produced as an appendage
    Ovary syncarpous, many-locular with numerous ovules in each locule; stigmatic surfaces radiating from central apical boss of the ovary and with marginal stylar processes
    Fruit fleshy or spongy, ripening under water and eventually splitting
    Seeds small, floating due to air-containing sack-like pulpy aril and seed-wall.



    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Alabama, Alaska, Albania, Alberta, Algeria, Altay, Amur, Andaman Is., Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Arkansas, Assam, Austria, Bahamas, Baleares, Baltic States, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Burkina, Burundi, Buryatiya, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Cayman Is., Central African Repu, Central European Rus, Chad, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Connecticut, Corse, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Denmark, District of Columbia, Dominican Republic, East European Russia, East Himalaya, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, Florida, France, Free State, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Idaho, Illinois, India, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jawa, Kamchatka, Kansas, Kazakhstan, Kentucky, Kenya, Khabarovsk, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kuril Is., KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lebanon-Syria, Leeward Is., Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Louisiana, Madagascar, Magadan, Maine, Malawi, Malaya, Mali, Manchuria, Manitoba, Maryland, Masachusettes, Mauritania, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Mongolia, Montana, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nebraska, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Brunswick, New Guinea, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New South Wales, New York, Newfoundland, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, North Carolina, North European Russi, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Northwest European R, Northwest Territorie, Norway, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oman, Ontario, Pakistan, Palestine, Panamá, Paraguay, Pennsylvania, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Prince Edward I., Puerto Rico, Queensland, Québec, Rhode I., Romania, Rwanda, Sakhalin, Saskatchewan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Carolina, South European Russi, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sumatera, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Tibet, Togo, Transcaucasus, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Tuva, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vermont, Vietnam, Virginia, Washington, West Himalaya, West Siberia, West Virginia, Western Australia, Windward Is., Wisconsin, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Yukon, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Extinct in:

    Sardegna, Sicilia

    Introduced into:

    Arizona, Ascension, California, Chile Central, Chile South, Colorado, Cook Is., Fiji, Mauritius, Nevada, New Mexico, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Oregon, Seychelles, Society Is., Utah, Victoria

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Nymphaea L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Troupin, G. [4134], Congo 6691.000
    Meikle, R.D., Nigeria 15396.000
    Meikle, R.D. [531], Nigeria 39771.000
    Edwards, P.J. [4098], New Guinea 64357.000
    Bauer, P.J. [180], Cameroon K000105672
    United Kingdom 70000.268


    First published in Sp. Pl.: 510 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Ansari, R. & Jeeja, G. (2009). Waterlilies in India. Taxonomy and cultivation of the genus Nymphaea L. (Nymphaeaceae): 1-86. Indian Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy.
    • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1993). Flora Europaea ed. 2, 1: 1-581. Cambridge University Press.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Gilg in Engl. Bot. Jahrb. 41: 351 (1908).
    • —F.T.A. 1: 52

    Flora Zambesiaca

    • Sm., Fl. Graec. Prodr. 1: 360 (1808) nom. conserv.
    • Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 227 (1754) emend
    • Sp. Pl. 1: 510 (1753)

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Wiersema, Syst. Bot. Mon. 16: 1–112 (1987), nom. conserv. (with N. alba L. as type)
    • Gilg in E.J. 41: 351–366 (1908)
    • Henkel, Rehnelt & Dittmann, Das Buch der Nymphaeaceen (1907)
    • Conard, The Waterlilies (1905)
    • Chifflot, Contrib. à l’Etude Nymph. (1902)
    • L., Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 227 (1754)
    • Sp. Pl.: 510 (1753)


    Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China
    The Malesian Key Group (2010) Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China (Version 2.0, 28 Jul 2010) The Nationaal Herbarium Nederland Leiden and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Science Photographs
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew