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About 36 species, see text[1]

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
/nɪmˈfiːə/ is a genus of hardy and tender aquatic plants in the family Nymphaeaceae. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution. Many species are cultivated as ornamental plants, and many cultivars have been bred. Some taxa occur as introduced species where they are not native,[2] and some are weeds.[3] Plants of the genus are known commonly as water lilies.[2][4] The genus name is from the Greek νυμφαια, nymphaia and the Latin
Latin
nymphaea, which mean "water lily" and were inspired by the nymphs of Greek and Latin
Latin
mythology.[2]

Contents

1 Description 2 Cultivation 3 Other uses 4 Taxonomy 5 Cultural significance 6 Examples 7 References 8 External links 9 Further reading

Description[edit]

A bright-field micrograph of a cross-section of a floating leaf of Nymphaea
Nymphaea
alba.

E1: upper epiderm E2: lower epiderm P: palisade mesophyll M: spongy mesophyll B: vascular bundle I: intercellular gap S: sclerenchyma

Water lilies are aquatic rhizomatous perennial herbs, sometimes with stolons, as well. The leaves grow from the rhizome on long petioles. Most of them float on the surface of the water. The blades have smooth or spine-toothed edges, and they can be rounded or pointed. The flowers rise out of the water or float on the surface, opening during the day or at night.[2] Many species of Nymphaea
Nymphaea
display protogynous flowering. The temporal separation of these female and male phases is physically reinforced by flower opening and closing, so the first flower opening displays female pistil and then closes at the end of the female phase, and reopens with male stamens.[5] Each has at least eight petals in shades of white, pink, blue, or yellow. Many stamens are at the center.[2] Water lily flowers are entomophilous, meaning they are pollinated by insects, often beetles.[2] The fruit is berry-like and borne on a curving or coiling peduncle.[2] Cultivation[edit] Water lilies are not only decorative, but also provide useful shade which helps reduce the growth of algae in ponds and lakes.[6] Many of the water lilies familiar in water gardening are hybrids and cultivars. These cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

'Escarboucle'[7] (orange-red) 'Gladstoniana'[8] (double white flowers with prominent yellow stamens) 'Gonnère'[9] (double white scented flowers) 'James Brydon;'[10] (cupped rose-red flowers) 'Marliacea Chromatella'[11]' (pale yellow flowers) 'Pygmaea Helvola'[12] (cupped fragrant yellow flowers)

Other uses[edit] Water lilies have several edible parts. The young leaves and unopened flower buds can be boiled and served as a vegetable. The seeds, high in starch, protein, and oil, may be popped, parched, or ground into flour. Potato-like tubers can be collected from the species N. tuberosa.[13] Taxonomy[edit]

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
stellata

This is one of several genera of plants known commonly as lotuses. It is not related to the legume genus Lotus or the Chinese and Indian lotuses of genus Nelumbo. It is closely related to Nuphar
Nuphar
lotuses, however. In Nymphaea, the petals are much larger than the sepals, whereas in Nuphar, the petals are much smaller. The process of fruit maturation also differs, with Nymphaea
Nymphaea
fruit sinking below the water level immediately after the flower closes, and Nuphar
Nuphar
fruit remaining above the surface. Subdivisions of genus Nymphaea:[14]

Subgenus:

Anecphya Brachyceras Hydrocallis Lotos Nymphaea:

section Chamaenymphaea section Nymphaea section Xanthantha

Nymphaea alba
Nymphaea alba
– white water lily (type species) Nymphaea
Nymphaea
amazonum – Amazon water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
ampla – dotleaf water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
blanda Nymphaea caerulea
Nymphaea caerulea
– blue Egyptian lotus Nymphaea
Nymphaea
calliantha Nymphaea
Nymphaea
candida Nymphaea capensis
Nymphaea capensis
– Cape blue waterlily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
colorata Nymphaea
Nymphaea
conardii – roundleaf water lily Nymphaea elegans
Nymphaea elegans
– tropical royalblue water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
fennica Nymphaea
Nymphaea
flavovirens Nymphaea
Nymphaea
gardneriana Nymphaea gigantea
Nymphaea gigantea
– giant water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
glandulifera– sleeping beauty water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
heudelotii Nymphaea
Nymphaea
jamesoniana – James' water lily Nymphaea leibergii
Nymphaea leibergii
– Leiberg's water lily Nymphaea lotus
Nymphaea lotus
– Egyptian white water lily Nymphaea lotus
Nymphaea lotus
f. thermalis Nymphaea
Nymphaea
macrosperma Nymphaea mexicana
Nymphaea mexicana
– yellow water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
micrantha Nymphaea nouchali
Nymphaea nouchali
– blue lotus Nymphaea odorata
Nymphaea odorata
– fragrant water lily Nymphaea pubescens
Nymphaea pubescens
– hairy water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
rubra – India red water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
rudgeana Nymphaea
Nymphaea
stuhlmannii Nymphaea
Nymphaea
sulfurea Nymphaea
Nymphaea
tetragona – pygmy water lily Nymphaea
Nymphaea
thermarum Nymphaea
Nymphaea
violacea

Blue lotus ( Nymphaea
Nymphaea
caerulea) on an 18th Dynasty jar found at Amarna

Cultural significance[edit]

Water Lilies by Claude Monet, 1906

The ancient Egyptians revered the Nile
Nile
water lilies, which were known as lotuses. The lotus motif is a frequent feature of temple column architecture. In Egypt, the lotus, rising from the bottom mud to unfold its petals to the sun, suggested the glory of the sun's own emergence from the primaeval slime. It was a metaphor of creation. It was a symbol of the fertility gods and goddesses as well as a symbol of the upper Nile
Nile
as the giver of life.[15] The flowers of the blue Egyptian water lily (N. caerulea) open in the morning and then sink beneath the water at dusk, while those of the white water lily (N. lotus) open at night and close in the morning. Egyptians found this symbolic of the separation of deities and of death and the afterlife. Remains of both flowers have been found in the burial tomb of Ramesses II. A Roman belief existed that drinking a liquid of crushed Nymphaea
Nymphaea
in vinegar for 10 consecutive days turned a boy into a eunuch. A Syrian terra-cotta plaque from the 14th-13th centuries BC shows the goddess Asherah
Asherah
holding two lotus blossoms. An ivory panel from the 9th-8th centuries BC shows the god Horus
Horus
seated on a lotus blossom, flanked by two cherubs.[16] The French Impressionist
Impressionist
painter Claude Monet
Claude Monet
is known for his many paintings of water lilies in the pond in his garden at Giverny.[17] N. nouchali is the national flower of Bangladesh[18] and Sri Lanka.[19] Water lilies are also used as ritual narcotics. This topic "was the subject of a lecture by William Emboden given at Nash Hall of the Harvard Botanical Museum on the morning of April 6, 1979".[20] Examples[edit]

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
alba

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
colorata

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
gigantea

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
nouchali

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'Attraction'

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
laydekeri purpurata

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
mexicana

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
capensis

Nymphaea
Nymphaea
candida

References[edit]

^ Nymphaea. The Plant
Plant
List. ^ a b c d e f g Nymphaea. Flora of North America. ^ Nymphaea. The Jepson eFlora 2013. ^ Nymphaea. Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Integrated Taxonomic Information System
(ITIS). ^ Povilus, R. A.; Losada, J. M.; Friedman, W. E. (2015). "Floral biology and ovule and seed ontogeny of Nymphaea
Nymphaea
thermarum, a water lily at the brink of extinction with potential as a model system for basal angiosperms". Annals of Botany. 115: 211–226. doi:10.1093/aob/mcu235. PMID 25497514.  ^ RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.  ^ "RHS Plant
Plant
Selector - Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'Escarboucle'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.  ^ "RHS Plant
Plant
Selector - Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'Gladstoniana'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.  ^ "RHS Plant
Plant
Selector - Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'Gonnere'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.  ^ "RHS Plant
Plant
Selector - Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'James Brydon'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.  ^ "RHS Plant
Plant
Selector - Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'Marliacea Chromatella'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.  ^ "RHS Plant
Plant
Selector - Nymphaea
Nymphaea
'Pygmaea Helvola'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.  ^ Peterson, L. A. (1977). A Field Guide to the Wild Edible Plants of Eastern and Central North America. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 22.  ^ "USDA GRIN Taxonomy".  chapter= ignored (help) ^ Tresidder, jack (1997). The Hutchinson Dictionary of Symbols. London: Duncan Baird Publishers. p. 126. ISBN 1-85986-059-1.  ^ Dever, W. G. Did God have a Wife? Archeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2008. pp 221, 279. ^ "Water Lilies: Claude Monet
Claude Monet
(French, 1840–1926)". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Metropolitan Museum of Art. December 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2015.  ^ " Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Constitution".  chapter= ignored (help) ^ Jayasuriya, M. Our national flower may soon be a thing of the past. The Sunday Times April 17, 2011. ^ "The Ethno-Pharmacology Society Newletter". 2 (4). Spring 1979. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nymphaea.

Knotts, K. The first hybrid waterlilies. GRIN Species Records of Nymphaea.

Further reading[edit]

Slocum, P. D. Waterlilies and Lotuses. Timber Press. 2005. ISBN 0-88192-684-1 (restricted online version at Google Books)

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q146628 APDB: 193075 EoL: 60384 EPPO: 1NYMG FloraBase: 21429 FNA: 122531 FoC: 122531 Fossilworks: 157335 GBIF: 2882411 GRIN: 8329 iNaturalist: 51122 IPNI: 330032-2 ITIS: 18383 NCBI: 4418 PLANTS: NYMPH Tropicos: 40029644

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