Herbs and Other Plant Species of the World's Boreal Forests

World Boreal Trees

Terminology | Pictorial

Nymphaea odorata
Fragrant Water-lily
Nymphaeaceae (Water-lily Family)

Fragrant Water-lily A floating aquatic plant with large, fragrant, white flowers and flat, roundish, floating leaves, growing to a height of 60 - 120 cm, including submerged leaf and flower stalks, and long stems buried on the bottom.


Distinguishing Features - Leaves: 10 - 30 cm wide; shiny green above, purplish-red underneath; attached at the base to a long, submerged stalk. Flowers: 7.5 - 15 cm wide; 20 to 30 petals, narrowing in width towards center and intergrading with 50 to 100 yellow stamens; 4 green sepals; compound pistil with several united carpels. Fruit: fleshy, ripening beneath the water on a coiled stalk.


Native to eastern United States; infrequent in southeastern Canada and the western U.S. states; in ponds and small lakes with still, fresh water.

Small White Water-lily Notes

Pictured to the right, is the Small White Water-lily Nymphaea tetragona which has white flowers 6.3 cm wide with only 7 to 13 petals, that open in the afternoon. It is native to Scandinavia, the northeastern United States and is also found in Canada, northern Michigan and Minnesota; infrequent in the western U.S. states.

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