fragrant waterlily
Nymphaea odorata Ait.


Nymphaea odorata is an rooted aquatic perennial herb with large floating flowers and leaves.
Leaves are round, narrowly cut almost to the center, 10 in. (25.4 cm) across, and bright green on top and the underside is reddish or purplish.
There is one flower to a stem. Flowers are white to pink, round in shape, and 2-6 in. (5-15.2 cm) across with more than 25 thick pointed petals.
After flowering, the stalk will contract and create a globe shaped fruit with several seeds that matures under the water then the fruit will break away and float to the surface of the water to be eaten by wildlife.
Ecological Threat
Nymphaea odorata is found in ponds, lakes, and streams. It is native to all US states except Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Nymphaea odorata is considered an invasive exotic in California and Washington. It is becoming rare in some of its native range. Connecticut lists Nymphaea odorata as a species of special concern.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order: Nymphaeales
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nymphaea
Subject: Nymphaea odorata Ait.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
American white waterlily


Plants - Aquatic Plants