Nymphaea odorata Aiton
fragrant waterlily (American white waterlily)
Nymphaeaceae (Water-lily family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Province of British Columbia (Bill Jex)     (Photo ID #3242)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Nymphaea odorata
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Nymphaea odorata ssp. odorata

Species Information

Perennial aquatic herb from a thick, prostrate rhizome; stems slender; stolons lacking.
Floating, scattered loosely along the rhizome, without blotches or dots, heart-shaped, the blades 10-40 cm wide, 10-40 cm long, long-stalked.
Inflorescence of showy, fragrant flowers that open in the morning and close in the afternoon, 6-19 cm wide; petals white or rarely pink, 17-43, equal to or exceeding the sepals; sepals 4, 3-6.5 cm long; stamens yellow; stigmatic disk margin appendages 3-8 mm long.
Berry-like capsules, leathery, many-seeded, rupturing irregularly with a jelly-like seed mass; seeds egg-shaped, 1.5-2.5 mm long, 1.5-1.7 mm wide.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

Habitat and Range

Lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams in the lowland, steppe and lower montane zones; infrequent in SW and SC BC; introduced from E North America.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Castalia lekophylla Small
Castalia minor (Sims) Nyar
Castalia odorata (Aiton) Alph. Wood
Castalia reniformis DC.
Nymphaea minor (Sims) DC.
Nymphaea odorata var. gigantea Tricker
Nymphaea odorata var. godfreyi Ward
Nymphaea odorata var. minor Sims
Nymphaea odorata var. rosea Pursh
Nymphaea odorata var. stenopetala Fernald
Nymphaea odorata var. villosa Caspary