common water lily
Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
Floating leaved aquatic plant with ‘lily’ shaped leaves and usually with white flowers (can be pale pink and hybrids may be red, yellow or bluish), that can develop dense stands in still and slow flowing waters.
Widely naturalised, first record 1950, but widely cultivated and planted before that time.
Still and slow flowing water bodies, usually found growing in ornamental pools. It is normally found growing up to 2 m depth in muddy substrates.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
Stout horizontal rhizome up to 60 mm across. Leaves are almost round to elliptical in shape, with a deep sinus. Leaves are up to 25 cm across, green or pink on the lower surface, with a distinct main vein. Flowers are either white or pale pink (hybrids can have red, yellow, or blue flowers) and are up to 20 cm across.
Mexican water lily (Nymphaea mexicana), marshwort (Nymphoides geminata), and fringed water lily (Nymphoides peltata). Mexican water lily has an erect rhizome distinguishing it from common water lily, which has a horizontal rhizome. Mexican water lily also often has brown blotches on the upper surface of leaves, which don’t occur on the leaves of common water lily. Marshwort and fringed water lily have thin stolons which loop across the sediment surface or lie just beneath the water surface, whereas common water lily has thick rhizomes.
November, December, January, February, March
Rhizome extension and fragmentation, rarely by seed. Deliberate plantings
Native to Northern temperate regions
Reason for introduction
Ornamental pond plant
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Habitat information from Coffey and Clayton (1988).
References and further reading
Champion et al (2012). Freshwater Pests of New Zealand. NIWA publication. http://www.niwa.co.nz/freshwater-and-estuaries/management-tools/identification-guides-and-fact-sheets/freshwater-pest-species.