“Those virgin lilies, all the night
Bathing their beauties in the lake,
That they may rise more fresh and bright,
When their beloved sun’s awake.”
Photographed in Denning, New York, USA
Also known as the Fragrant Water-lily, this wildflower is in the Nymphaeaceae family.
This aquatic plant has very fragrant, floating, diurnal flowers, white or pink and flat, round, floating leaves.
It is a native aquatic perennial herb; forming dense patches from fleshy rhizomes; variable.
Leaf: usually floating or barely submerged, opposite, circular or oval, deeply notched to center, glossy green on top, red-purple and veiny underneath, 4-16 in (10-40 cm) diameter or more; on long round stalk, hollow with 4 channels, attached to center notch.
Flowers are a fragrant bowl, white to pink, 2.5-7.5 in (6-19 cm) wide; with 14-43 narrow, pointed petals in several rows, 35-120 yellow stamens; usually floating, solitary, on long stalk; opening in early morning, closing by midday.
Fruit: spongy oval berry, 1 in (2.5 cm) long, held underwater on coiled stalk.
Flower June to October.
Flower June – September
Habitat Still, fresh water less than 7 ft (2 m) deep; often cultivated as an ornamental.
Range Native to the eastern U.S., now naturalized throughout North America, except for northern Canada, Alberta, North Dakota and Wyoming.