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Water-Lily Family

( Originally Published 1922 )



Large Yellow Pond, or Water, Lily; Cow Lily; Spatter-dock

Nymphaea advena (Nuphar advena)

Flowers—Yellow or greenish outside, rarely purple tinged, round, depressed, 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 in. across. Sepals 6, unequal, concave, thick, fleshy; petals stamen-like, oblong, fleshy, short; stamens very numerous, in 5 to 7 rows; pistil compounded of many carpels, its stigmatic disc pale red or yellow, with 12 to 24 rays. Leaves: Floating, or some immersed, large, thick, sometimes a foot long, egg-shaped or oval, with a deep cleft at base, the lobes rounded.

Preferred Habitat—Standing water, ponds, slow streams. Flowering Season—April—September. Distribution—Rocky Mountains eastward, south to the

Gulf of Mexico, north to Nova Scotia.

Comparisons were ever odious. Because the Yellow Water-lily has the misfortune to claim relationship with the sweet-scented white species must it never receive its just meed of praise? Hiawatha's canoe, let it be remembered, "Floated on the river Like a yellow leaf in autumn, Like a yellow water-lily."

But even those who admire Longfellow's lines see less beauty in the golden flower-bowls floating among the large, lustrous, leathery leaves.

Sweet-scented White Water-lily; Pond Lily; Water Nymph; Water Cabbage

Castalia odorata (Nymphaea odorata)

Flowers—Pure white or pink tinged, rarely deep pink, solitary, 3 to 8 in. across, deliciously fragrant, floating. Calyx of 4 sepals, green outside; petals of indefinite number, overlapping in many rows, and gradually passing into an indefinite number of stamens; outer row of stamens with petaloid filaments and short anthers, the inner yellow stamens with slender filaments and elongated anthers; carpels of indefinite number, united into a compound pistil, with spreading and projecting stigmas. Leaves: Floating, nearly round, slit at bottom, shining green above, reddish and more or less hairy below, 4 to 12 in. across, attached to petiole at centre of lower surface. Petioles and peduncles round and rubber-like, with 4 main air-channels. Rootstock: (Not true stem) thick, simple or with few branches, very long.

Preferred Habitat—Still water, ponds, lakes, slow streams. Flowering Season—June—September.

Distribution—Nova Scotia to Gulf of Mexico, and west-ward to the Mississippi.

Sumptuous queen of our native aquatic plants, of the royal family to which the gigantic Victoria regia of Brazil belongs, and all the lovely rose, lavender, blue, and golden exotic water-lilies in the fountains of our city parks, to her man, beast, and insect pay grateful homage. In Egypt, India, China, Japan, Persia, and Asiatic Russia, how many millions have bent their heads in adoration of her relative the sacred lotus! From its centre Brahma came forth; Buddha, too, whose symbol is the lotus, first appeared floating on the mystic flower (Nelumbo nelumbo). Happily the lovely pink or white "sacred bean" or "rose-lily" of the Nile, often cultivated here, has been success-fully naturalized in ponds about Bordentown, New Jersey, and may be elsewhere. If he who planteth a tree is greater than he who taketh a city, that man should be canonized who introduces the magnificent wild flowers of foreign lands to our area of Nature's garden.



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