Overview

Brief Summary

Nymphaea nouchali, known as red and blue water-lily, blue star water-lily, or star lotus, is an aquatic flowering plant in the Nymphaceae (water-lily family), native to southern and eastern Asia (including the Indian subcontinent, China, and Taiwan), Borneo, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Australia, where it typically grows in ponds. It is often called the “blue lotus of India,” but it is not a true lotus (of the lotus family, Nelumbaceae; the genus Lotus is in the legume family, Fabaceae), nor are water-lilies true lilies (of the family Liliaceae).

N. nouchali grows from rhizomes or tubers rooted under the water. Leaves are oval to round, 13–15 cm (5–6 in), with an open sinus at the leaf base where it attaches to the petiole (leaf stem). Leaves may spread 1.4–1.5 m (4–5 feet) from where the rhizome is rooted. Flowers, which have little fragrance, are stellate (star-shaped) with 4 sepals and 10–16 petals, and are 5–13 cm (2–5 in) in diameter. Although leaves float on the water surface, flowers are generally held 30 cm (12 in) above water. They are usually pale blue (but can be pink or white) with pale yellow stamens and anthers.

N. nouchali has been cultivated in southeast Asia for centuries, especially around temples. It is also cultivated in Sri Lanka and gathered from dried ponds in India for the rhizomes, which are used as food and animal fodder as a source of starch. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used to treat indigestion.

Cultivars include N. nouchali var. cyanea, which has medium-sized pale to deep blue flowers, and N. nouchali var. versicolor, which is commonly exported in the form of tubers from Sri Lanka to Europe and the U.S. for use in the aquariums; the tubers grow quickly after exposure to warm water, making an “instant” aquarium plant.

(Everett 1981, FOC 2011, Slocum 2005, Wikipedia 2011)

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Comprehensive Description

Nymphaea nouchali Burm. f., 1768

Materials

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; locality: Bago Division; border to Rakhain State ; verbatimLatitude: 18° 40' 27'' N; verbatimLongitude: 94° 53' 41'' E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 11, 2006 ; Record Level: collectionID: Sugawara et al. 036514; institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; locality: Rakhain State; between God village and mangrove forest ; verbatimLatitude: 18° 29' 30" N; verbatimLongitude: 94° 16' 13" E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 12, 2006 ; Record Level: collectionID: Sugawara et al. 036535; institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Sattalip, Taong Breng ; verbatimLatitude: 12° 43' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 56' E; Event: eventDate: Oct. 1, 1969 ; Record Level: collectionID: J.F. Maxwell s.n.; institutionCode: AAU

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Narathiwat Province; S of Naratiwat ; verbatimLatitude: 6° 30' N; verbatimLongitude: 101° 45' E; Event: eventDate: Mar. 8, 1974 ; Record Level: collectionID: K. Larsen & S.S. Larsen 33086; institutionCode: AAU

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Ayuthaya Province; Ayuthaya District ; verbatimLatitude: 14° 22' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 35' E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 3, 1979 ; Record Level: collectionID: T. Shimizu et al. T-26093; institutionCode: AAU

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Phetchabury ; verbatimLatitude: 13° 30' 06" N; verbatimLongitude: 99° 47' 37" E; Event: eventDate: Nov. 14, 2012 ; Record Level: collectionID: Y. Ito 1711; institutionCode: BKF

Distribution

Bangladesh, China (Southern), India (nationwide),?Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New guinea,?Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka,?Vietnam.

  • Ito, Yu, Barfod, Anders S. (2014): An updated checklist of aquatic plants of Myanmar and Thailand. Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1019: 1019-1019, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1019
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Plazi

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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Ponds and Pools in plains"
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Brief

"Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1 Year Assessed: 2010 Assessor/s: Gupta, A.K. Reviewer/s: Bhat, G.K., Augustine, J., Rao, M.L.V., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S. Justification: Widespread species with no known major widespread threats. Conservation Actions: None known."
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Herb
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Distribution

Range Description

It is native to temperate and tropical Asia (Afghanistan to China, and south to Papua New Guinea), Australia and tropical Africa.
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"Maharashtra: Kolhapur Karnataka: Chikmagalur, Coorg, Hassan, Mysore, Shimoga, S. Kanara Kerala: All districts"
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"
Global Distribution

Indo-Malesia and Tropical Africa

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: All Districts

"
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"Range Description: It is native to temperate and tropical Asia (Afghanistan to China, and south to Papua New Guinea), Australia and tropical Africa. Countries - Native: Afghanistan; Angola; Australia; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Egypt (Egypt (African part)); India; Indonesia; Kenya; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Malawi; Malaysia; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia (Caprivi Strip, Namibia (main part)); Nepal; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Uganda; Viet Nam; Zambia; Zimbabwe"
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Africa through India to Malesia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

"
Flower

Solitary, regular, bisexual; white. Flowering throughout the year.

Fruit

A spongy berry, ripening below the surface; seeds many, minute, embedded in the pulp, enclosed in a sac like aril. Fruiting throughout the year.

Field tips

Leaves sharply sinuate toothed, densely pubescent beneath.

Leaf Arrangement

Radical

Leaf Type

Simple

Leaf Shape

Orbicular

Leaf Base

Peltate

Leaf Margin

Dentate

"
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Description

Rhizomes erect, unbranched. Leaf blade elliptic-orbicular to orbicular, 7--15(--45) cm in diam., papery, abaxially glabrous, peltate a few mm from base of sinus, base cordate, basal lobes parallel to spreading, margin subentire to deeply crenate. Flower slightly emergent, 3--15 cm in diam. Calyx insertion on receptacle circular; sepals lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 2.5--8 cm, slightly veined, persistent. Petals 10--30, white tinged with purple, blue, or purple-red, linear-oblong to lanceolate, 4.5--5 cm, transition to stamens gradual. Filament of inner stamens ± as wide as anther; connective apically appendaged. Carpels only partially united, walls between locules of ovary double. Stigma rays (8--)10--30; carpellary appendages triangular-tapered. Fruit globose, 1.5--4.5 cm in diam. Seeds ellipsoid-globose, 0.5--1.3 mm, with longitudinal rows of hairs. Fl. Jul--Dec. 2n = 28, 56, 84.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Rhizomatous auatic herbs. rhizomes often producing long runners. Leaves alternate, elliptic or orbicular, elliptic-sagitate when young, entire or irregularly sinuate at margin, rounded-acute at apex, (6-) 10-35(-45) x (5-) 8-28(-40) cm, reddish purple beneath; main nerves 7-15, palmate; midnerve grooved above, prominently angled beneath; secondary nerves 4-7 pairs, slightly grooved above; petioles terete, 2-5 mm thick, glabrous. Flowers 6-14 cm across, slightly fragrant. Sepals lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, obtuse, 2.5-7.5 x 0.7-2.5 cm, green, streaked purple outside. Petals 8-15, elliptic-lanceolate, 2.5-6 x 0.5-1.2 cm, mauve. Stamens 20-60, yellow; outer ones 1.5-2.5 cm long; the inner shorter; connective appendages 1.5-3 mm long; anthers 0.5-1.5 cm long. Ovary urceolate, sunken, 10-20 loculed; ovules numerous on superficial placentae; stigmas 8-20, radiating, connate at base. Fruits globose, 1.5-3.5 cm, with remnants of sepals, petals and stamens; seeds ellipsoid-globose, 8-10 mm long, vertically fine-lined, ciliate on ribs, becoming glabrate with growth of aril."
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Diagnostic

"Habit: A floating, stoloniferous aquatic herb, upto 1.5m."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Aquatic Herb
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Synonym

Nymphaea stellata Willdenow.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Commonly found growing in stagnant water pools or ponds. It is a rooted aquatic herb.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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General Habitat

"Habitat and Ecology: Commonly found growing in stagnant water pools or ponds. It is a rooted aquatic herb. Systems: Freshwater List of Habitats: 5, 5.5, 5.7, 15, 15.2"
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General Habitat

Ponds and pools in plains
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Habitat & Distribution

Ponds. Anhui, Guangdong, Hainan, Hubei, Taiwan, Yunnan [Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam; Australia].
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: Throughout the year
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nymphaea stellata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Gupta, A.K.

Reviewer/s
Bhat, G.K., Augustine, J., Rao, M.L.V., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S.

Contributor/s

Justification
Widespread species with no known major widespread threats.
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"Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1 Year Assessed: 2010 Assessor/s: Gupta, A.K. Reviewer/s: Bhat, G.K., Augustine, J., Rao, M.L.V., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S. Justification: Widespread species with no known major widespread threats. Conservation Actions: None known."
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Population

Population
This is a common species. Population trends are unknown.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Population: This is a common species. Population trends are unknown. Population Trend: Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
No major threats to the species are known.
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Major Threat (s): No major threats to the species are known.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None known.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Folklore

Indigenous Information: The tubers and the fruits are eaten after boiling. Rare in the stagnant waters of Thamaraipaali areas of Poochamarathur village.
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Uses

It is used as an ornamental plant because of its spectacular flowers. Much used in Ayurvedic preparations.
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Wikipedia

Nymphaea nouchali

Not to be confused with Blue Egyptian lotus or Egyptian white water-lily.
"Shapla" redirects here. For other uses, see Shapla (disambiguation).

Nymphaea nouchali, or by its synonym Nymphaea stellata, or by name star lotus, red and blue water lily, blue star water lily is a water lily of genus Nymphaea. It is the national flower of Sri Lanka and of Bangladesh.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The blue-flowered Nymphaea nouchali or Nil Mānel.
Fuchsia-colored Nymphaea nouchali in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

This aquatic plant is native from the Indian Subcontinent to Australia region. It has been long valued as a garden flower in Thailand and Myanmar to decorate ponds and gardens. In its natural state N. nouchali is found in static or slow-flowing aquatic habitats of little to moderate depth.[citation needed]

Description[edit]

Water lily in Thiruvananthapuram

Nymphaea nouchali is a day-blooming nonviviparous plant with submerged roots and stems. Part of the leaves are submerged, while others rise slightly above the surface. The leaves are round and green on top; they usually have a darker underside. The floating leaves have undulating edges that give them a crenellate appearance. Their size is about 20–23 cm and their spread is 0.9 to 1.8 m

This water lily has a beautiful flower which is usually violet blue in color with reddish edges. Some varieties have white, purple, mauve or fuchsia-colored flowers, hence its name red and blue water lily. The flower has 4-5 sepals and 13-15 petals that have an angular appearance making the flower look star-shaped from above. The cup-like calyx has a diameter of 11–14 cm.

Symbolism[edit]

Sigiriya frescoes, Anuradhapura period, Central Ceylon. The lady on the left is holding a Nil Mānel.

N. nouchali is the national flower of Bangladesh.[1] A pale blue-flowered N. nouchali is the national flower of Sri Lanka, where it is known as nil mānel or nil mahanel (නිල් මානෙල්).[2]

In Sri Lanka this plant usually grows in buffalo ponds and natural wetlands. Its beautiful aquatic flower has been mentioned in Sanskrit, Pali and Sinhala literary works since ancient times under the names kuvalaya, indhīwara, niluppala, nilothpala and nilupul as a symbol of virtue, discipline and purity. Buddhist lore in Sri Lanka claims that this flower was one of the 108 auspicious signs found on Prince Siddhartha's footprint.[3] It is said that when Buddha died, lotus flowers blossomed everywhere he had walked in his lifetime.

N. nouchali might have been one of the plants eaten by the Lotophagi of Homer's Odyssey.

Uses[edit]

N. nouchali is used as an ornamental plant because of its spectacular flowers. It is also popular as an aquarium plant under the name "Dwarf Lily" or "Dwarf Red Lily".[citation needed] Sometimes it is grown for its flowers, while other aquarists prefer to trim the lily pads, and just have the underwater foliage.

Nymphaea nouchali is considered a medicinal plant in Indian Ayurvedic medicine under the name Ambal; it was mainly used to treat indigestion.[4][full citation needed]

Like all waterlilies or lotuses, its tubers and rhizomes can be used as food items; they are eaten usually boiled or roasted. In the case of N. nouchali, its tender leaves and flower peduncles are also valued as food.[5]

The dried plant is collected from ponds, tanks and marshes during the dry season and used in India as animal forage.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Constitution Of The People's Republic Of Bangladesh
  2. ^ Hettiarachchi, Kumudini (November 7, 2010). "The Great Pretender". The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  3. ^ TokyoNet - National Statistics
  4. ^ P. V. Sharma, Puṣpāyurvedaḥ - Pradhāna vitaraka Caukhambhā Bhāratī Akādamī, 1998
  5. ^ FR Irvine, RS Trickett - Waterlilies as Food - Kew Bulletin, 1953
  6. ^ A Banerjee, S Matai - Composition of Indian aquatic plants in relation to utilization as animal forage - Journal of Aquatic plant management, 1990
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Notes

Comments

In FRPS and a number of other works this species is named Nymphaea stellata . An examination of the type of N. nouchali by Verdcourt (Kew Bull. 44: 179. 1989) indicated that the name should be applied to this species, not to N. pubescens as some have done. Much work remains to be done to improve our understanding of this wide-ranging and highly variable taxon and its relationship to related taxa in Africa.
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