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Nymphaeaceae: Water Lily Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Water Lily Family

Nymphaea pubescens. Hairy Water Lily.

      If you have ever seen a pond of lily pads then you have likely seen members of this family. These are perennial, aquatic plants with thick, horizontal rootstocks and large leaves that float on the surface of the water. They have solitary flowers on long stalks with 4 or 5 sepals, plus 5, 15, or more petals and numerous (40 to 80) stamens. The ovary is positioned superior or slightly inferior and consists of 5 to 25 united carpels, with the partitian walls present, forming an equal number of chambers. The ovary matures as a leathery, capsule-like "berry," or as a schizocarp, a fruit that breaks apart at the carpels. Worldwide there are 6 genera and about 70 species. The lotus (Nelumbo) resembles the water lily and was previously placed in this family, but is now considered a distant family of its own, Nelumbonaceae

      Plants of the Water Lily family produce large, starchy roots. Some are edible, but some species have powerful and undefined medicinal qualities making them unpalatable as food. Otherwise, these plants are predominantly mucilaginous and astringent. Do not gather any plants for food or medicine from polluted waters. Most water plants cleanse pollutants out of the water and accumulate it in their tissues.

Key Words:
Aquatic plants with large, floating leaves and showy flowers.

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Nuphar polysepala. Yellow Pond Lily.

Nuphar polysepala. Yellow Pond Lily.

Nuphar polysepala. Yellow Pond Lily.

Nuphar polysepala. Yellow Pond Lily.

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Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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