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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
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