Water lily (Nymphaea odorata)

Water Lily plants have large, showy white flowers that float above the waterWater Lily plants, also known as Beaver Root, are aquatic plants that are rooted in the mud from branched roots with long stems and have large, round (typically notched) leaves that float on the surface of the water.  The Water Lily’s leaves have a waxy, waterproof upper coating, often with a notch where the stem connects.  They have large, many-petaled, fragrant flowers that are usually white (sometimes red) with prominent yellow stamens in the center of the flower.

Where to Find: Water Lily leaves and flowersWater lilies are found throughout much of the temperate and subtropical regions.  Look for them in shallow lakes, ponds, and in stagnant areas of slow moving rivers.

Edible Parts: The flowers, seeds, and rhizomes are edible raw or cooked. To prepare rhizomes for eating, peel off the corky rind. Eat raw, or slice thinly, allow to dry, and then grind into flour. Dry, parch, and grind the seeds into flour.

Other Uses: Use the liquid resulting from boiling the thickened root in water as a medicine for diarrhea and as a gargle for sore throats.

Water Lily plant leaves are round and typically notched on one side

Water Lily plant flower and leaves

Close up of Water Lily plant flower

Color drawing of Water Lily plant, leaf, flower, and roots