Despite this water lily’s beautiful flowers, the White Waterlily is very hardy and often out-competes most marine plant life. They can grow in waters anywhere from a few inches to several feet deep and are very resistant to Grass Carp. They form dense thickets quickly, pushing other vegetation out of the way.
Nymphaea odorata (White Waterlily, Fragrant Water Lily)
Hardiness Zones: 3-11
Height: petioles up to 2 meters (7 feet) tall from the water’s bottom to surface
Diameter: leaves to 35 centimeters (14 inches) across, entire plants spread much further
Growth Rate: Fast, one rhizome can spread foliage to cover up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) in just 5 years of growth.
Root System: spreading rhizomes, each 2-3 centimeters (1 inch) long; roots with black root hairs
Tolerates: different water pH, competition, some shade
Problems (major): These are very invasive and commonly out-compete native plant life. Grass Carp have proven unsuccessful predators, although repeatedly picking the leaves for 2 or 3 years tends to kill a plant.
Problems (minor): none
Soil requirements: survives in both acidic and alkaline waters, must be able to anchor onto soil with its roots/rhizomes
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: survives in water
Sun requirement: full sun
Depth: anywhere from 15 centimeters (6 inches) to 2 meters (7 feet) deep
Freshwater/Saltwater native: freshwater
Location (Pond, Stream, River, Lake, Sea, Ocean): ponds, marshes, streams, small lakes
Leaf structure: lamina 20-35 centimeters (8-14 inches) in diameter, almost perfecty circular, red or pink underneath, green on top
Flower structure: arise from petioles, purple at the base, flowers white or pink with yellow centers (where the anthers and pistils are), to 25 centimeters (10 inches) across, around 25 petals per flower, fragrant, self-fertile
Flowering frequency: July-August, flowers open in the morning and close in the afternoon. They stay afloat for 3 days. On the first day, the flowers are “female” and are receptive to pollen from other plants. They release a fluid in their cup-like flowers that attracts insects. When the insects visit the flower, they fall into the fluid, which releases the pollen from the creature’s body and pollinates the flower. It will close at night as fertilization occurs. For the next 2 days, it will be “male” and will release pollen.
Fruits: small, ovoid, berry-like, contains numerous seeds, develops underwater, seeds float on water’s surface for dispersal
These are very hardy water lilies that frequently push out competing aquatic plant life. Extracts from any part of the plant has properties that inhibit seed germination and root growth of native species. They often create dense mats that block out the sun from other plants. In doing this, they reduce the oxygen levels in the water and create prime mosquito breeding habitats. These have been reported to clog drainage and irrigation systems. Balanced (10-10-10 NPK), slow-release fertilizers improve overall health.
White waterlilies are grown for their ornamental foliage and flowers.
All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.