Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Barclaya Wall. (4 spp.)
Euryale Salisb. (1 sp.)
Nelumbo A. Rich. - water lotuses (2 spp.)
Nuphar Sm. (9 spp.)
Nymphaea L. - water lilies (47 spp.)
Ondinea Hartog (1 sp.)
Victoria Lindl. - giant water lily (2 spp.)
The Nymphaeaceae (water lilies) belong to the Order Nymphaeales. They are tuberous plants that are rooted in soil in bodies of water, with leaves and flowers floating on the water surface. Some species of the water lotus are used as food.
Modern phylogenetic thinking about the flowering plants regards the water lilies as the most basal ("primitive") of the flowering plants.
Many botanists place the genus Nelumbo in its own family, the Nelumbonaceae.
White water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh
- See lotus for other meanings.
A lotus can be a water lily in either the genus Nymphaea (the Egyptian lotuses) or Nelumbo (the Indian lotuses). Like most water lilies, both plants have round leaves that float on the surface of the water. Nymphaea leaves have a radial notch, while Nelumbo leaves are peltate, meaning they have no notch reaching into the petiole (leaf stem). Nelumbo fruit is often used in flower arrangements. It has about twenty pits in its upper surface, each of which contains a seed. Both plants have been used as religious symbols.
Nelumbo nucifera is highly regarded in Hindu and Buddhist cultures and has been given the status of National Flower of India. This species is also edible in all its parts and is used in many Asian cuisines.
- Nymphaeaceae Salisb. (1805) - R. A. Salisbury, in the Annals of Botany (Editors C. König and J. Sims), 2:70. London, 1805.
- Nymphaeaceae in: Watson, L., and M. J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The Families of Flowering Plants: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, Information Retrieval. http://delta-intkey.com
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