Page author: David Giblin
Nymphaea odorata
American water-lily, fragrant water-lily
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Distribution: Widely distributed west of the Cascades in Washingtond, with scattered localities east of the Cascades; widely distributed througout central and eastern North America where native.

Habitat: Lowland ponds and lakes both sides of the Cascades.

Flowers: June-October

Origin: Introduced

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Aquatic, perennial herbs from thick rhizomes, the leaves and flowers rising from the rhizomes.


Leaves floating, the blade deeply cordate, nearly orbicular, up to 25 cm. broad; petioles slender, terete, up to 2 m. long.


Flowers solitary, long-pedunculate, showy, white, tinged with pink, fragrant, opening in the morning and closing in the afternoon; sepals 4, greenish, 3-6.5 mm. long; petals white, 20-30, about equaling the sepals; stamens 50-100, yellow; style 1; stigmas 6-9, yellow, broad and spreading.


Fruit a berry-like capsule.

Accepted Name:
Nymphaea odorata Aiton
Publication: Hort. Kew. 2: 227. 1789.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Nymphaea odorata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Nymphaea odorata checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Nymphaea odorata atlas page.

CalPhotos: Nymphaea odorata photos.

USDA Plants: Nymphaea odorata information.

15 photographs:
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