A small family, widely distributed in fresh-water lakes and streams; aquatic, perennial herbs, with thick, horizontal rootstocks, or with tubers, large, floating, or erect leaves, and large, solitary flowers, with long flower-stalks; sepals three to twelve; petals three to many; stamens six to numerous; ovary superior, stigmas distinct or united into a disk. We have no white Water Lilies in the West.