Herbs aquatic, with peltate or cordate leaves from a prostrate rhizome. Fls. large, showy, often sweet-scented. Sepals and petals numerous, imbricated, gradually passing into each other. Sep. persistent. Petals inserted upon the disk which surrounds the pistil Sta. numerous, in several rows upon the disk, often passing into petals. Anthers adnate, introrse. Pistils many, united into a many-celled, many-seeded, compound ovary with a radiate stigma. Sds. embryo inclosed in a sack at the end of a copious albumen next the hilum. (Figs. 453, 232 - 240.)
Genera 5, species 50, inhabiting the northern hemisphere, Victoria in equatorial America. Their general aspect is that of an endogen, but they have 2 foliaceous cotyledons. The stems of nymphaea contain a powerful astringent principle, which is removed by repeated washing in water, after which they are tasteless, and may be used for food.
1. NYMPHAEA, L. Water Lily. (The Greek nymph, or Naiad, of the waters.) Sepals 4 or 5; petals ∞, inserted on the torus at its base; stamens gradually transformed into petals: stigma surrounded with rays; pericarp many-celled, many-seeded.- Aquatic.
1 N. odorata L. Rhizome thick, in mud beneath deep (3 - 9f.) water, sending its lvs. and fls. to the surface; lvs. floating, orbicurar (5-8'), entire, cleft at base to the centre, where the long petiole is inserted, the tubes imbricated; fls. white, deliriously fragrant, often with a delicate tinge of purple; filaments yellowish; seeds oblong, half the length of the aril Jl., Aug. One of the loveliest of flowers.
2 N. tuberosa Paine. Rhizome producing oblong (1') tubers which spontaneously separate; lvs. floating, orbicular-reniform, (6 - 15') entire, very veiny, the lobes divaricate; fls. scentless, or nearly so, milk-white (never purplish), pet. very blunt; seeds globular-ovoid. Sodus Bay (Hankenson) to Pa., and westward, Jl.
2. NOPHAR, Smith. Pond Lily. (Neufar is the Arabic name.) Sepals 5 or 6, oblong, concave, colored within; corolla of numerous small petals furrowed externally, and inserted with the numerous, truncated, linear stamens on the torus; stigma discoid, with prominent rays; pericarp many-celled, many-seeded.- Aquatic. Lvs. oval or oblong, sagittate-cordate.
1 N. advena Ait. Yellow Pond Lily. Lvs. floating or erect, with rounded. diverging lobes at base, petioles half-round; sep. 6; petals ∞; stig. 12 - 15-rayed, margin slightly repand. - Very common in sluggish streams and muddy lakes, Can. to Ga., W. to Oregon. A well-looking and very curious plant, but from its filthy habits it has been called, with justice, the frog lily. The rhizome is large, creeping extensively. Lvs. large, dark green, shining above, and when floating, pale and slimy beneath. Petioles half round. Fls. rather large and globular in form, erect, on a thick, rigid stalk. Three outer sepals yellow inside, and the three inner entirely yellow, as well as the petals and stamens. Jn. Jl. (Nymphaea Mx.)
2 N. Kalmiana Ait. Floating lvs. with base lobes approximate, submersed lvs. membranous, reniform-cordate, the lobes divaricate, margin waved, apex retuse; sep. 5; stig. 8 - 12-rayed, crenate. - A smaller species, with small yellow fls., growing in similar situations with the last, Northern States. Dr. Robbins, from whose MSS. the above is quoted, thinks it wholly distinct from N. lutea, (Smith) or any other species. Petiole slender, subterete. Upper lvs. 2 - 3' long 1 1/2 - 2 1/2' wide; lower lvs. 3 - 4' diam. Jl. (Nuphar lutea β Kalmiana Torr & Gr.)
3 N. sagittaefolia Ph. Lvs. elongated, sagittate-cordate, obtuse; sep. 6; pet. 0; anth. subsessile. - In slow waters, N. Car. to Ga. (Savannah). Rhizome erect. Lvs. large, 10 to 15' long. Fls. as large as in No. 2. Outer sep. green; inner, yellow and petaloid.
VICTORIA regia is also a member of this Order, - a gigantic Water Lily, native of the rivers of Brazil and Guiana, and successfully cultivated here. Its earliest leaves are linear, then hastate, next sagittate; its late ones become ovate with a deep slit at base. Thence they gradually become circular and centrally peltate, exhibiting by a distinct line the union of the base lobes. When full grown they are 4 - 6f diam. (or 8 - 12f in their native rivers), with upturned edges and prominent veins beneath. The expanded flowers with numerous petals and sepals are 1f in diameter.