Overview

Brief Summary

Nymphaea lotus, Egyptian white water-lily (also called tiger lotus or white lotus), is an aquatic flowering plant in the Nymphaceae (water-lily family), native to Egypt, central and west Africa, and Madagascar, which is frequently used as an aquarium plant or in water gardens. It is neither a true lily (in the genus Liliaceae) nor a lotus (which generally refers to plants in the lotus family, Nelumbaceae, although there is also a genus Lotus included in the legume family, Fabaceae). This species has a white flower that opens at night, which is the source of most night-blooming white water-lily hybrids and cultivars in commerce today.

N. lotus grows from tubers that can persist for several months in dormant state during dry seasons. Leaves are round, 20–50 cm (8–20 inches) wide, dentate, with a notch at the petiole, and may spread 1.5–3 m (5–10 feet) from the roots. Petioles (leaf stems) and peduncles (flower stems) are generally pubescent (hairy). Flowers, which last 4 days and have a slight fragrance, are 15–25 cm across, and are generally held 15–30 cm above the water. Flowers have 4 sepals and 19–20 white petals, with numerous yellow anthers and stamens. N. lotus is occasionally viviparous, producing new plantlets from tubers that emerge from the flowers.

N. lotus has escaped from cultivation and is naturalized in the U.S., in Louisiana and Florida, but is not reported as a particularly aggressive invader.

  • Everett, T.H. 1981. “Nymphaea.” The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture 7: 2351–2357.
  • FNA. 2011. Nymphaea. Flora of North America vol. 3. Retrieved 21 December 2011 from http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=122531.
  • Slocum, P.D. 2005. Waterlilies and Lotuses: Species, Cultivars, and New Hybrids. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 260 p.

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Comprehensive Description

Description

A perennial, aquatic herb with stout rhizome and stolon-like branches. Leaves are orbicular, spinose-dentate, with a deep basal sinus, prominently veined on the lower surface, and borne on long petioles that arise directly from the rhizome. Flowers are solitary, bisexual, with white veined sepals, white petals with purplish tint beneath, broad, white stamen filaments, and a concave stigma with 20–35 rays. Fruit is a dry berry.

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Distribution in Egypt

Nile and Mediterranean regions.

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Global Distribution

Romania, Egypt, Tropical Africa, Asia.

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introduced; Fla., La.; Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Rhizomes branched or unbranched, erect, ovoid; stolons slender. Leaves: petiole sparsely to densely puberulent. Leaf blade abaxially purplish, adaxially green, nearly orbiculate, to ca. 3 × 3 dm, margins spinose-dentate; venation radiate and prominent centrally, without weblike pattern, principal veins ca. 15; surfaces abaxially sparsely to densely puberulent. Flowers emersed, 12-25 cm diam., opening nocturnally, many flowers not closing until late morning, only sepals and outermost petals in distinct whorls of 4; sepals abaxially uniformly green, prominently veined, lines of insertion on receptacle not prominent; petals 16-20, white; stamens ca. 75, yellow, outer with connective appendage projecting less than 2 mm beyond anther; filaments widest below middle, slightly shorter to longer than anthers; pistil ca. 20(-30)-locular, appendages at margin of stigmatic disk linear, 6-12 mm. Seeds ellipsoid, 1.4-1.8 × 0.9-1.2 mm, ca. 1.5-1.6 times as long as broad, with longitudinal ridges bearing papillae 20-150 µm.
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Ecology

Habitat

Ponds, ditches, and canals; 0-100m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring-summer.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nymphaea lotus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Wikipedia

Nymphaea lotus

For other uses, see Lotus (disambiguation).
"White flower" redirects here. For the unicode character 0x1F4AE WHITE FLOWER, see Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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