Flora of the delta – water lily.

Flora of the delta – water lily.

Today, from the series Flora of the Delta, we will present the yellow water lily (Nuphar lutea).

It is a species of aquatic perennial in the Nymphaeaceae family. It is found in almost all of Europe and in central and western Asia. The  yellow pond lily  is a powerful plant, reaching a length of 50 cm to 4m. It has a long and strongly branched rhizome that grows horizontally in bottom silt. In addition to large leathery floating leaves, the  yellow pond lily  develops lettuce-like underwater leaves. Underwater leaves are very useful, as they provide essential oxygen in winter, when the surface is covered with ice and snow. It blooms from May to September. Strongly fragrant single, showy yellow flowers, with a large stigma and five petals, are set on thick stalks. The fruit is a peculiarly bottle-shaped pouch. It has numerous, greenish-yellow, heavy, egg-shaped seeds surrounded by a sticky mucus with air bubbles that allow it to float. For with the help of water this species spreads.

After germinating, the plant gradually grows by branching its rhizome, but only after 3-4 years does it bloom for the first time. It also reproduces vegetatively by rhizome. Being an aquatic plant, it inhabits the shoreline zone of reservoirs and slow-moving watercourses such as ponds, shoreline zone of lakes, oxbow lakes, river bends and slow-moving rivers. It is often found in the environment along with white water lilies.

It is used very often as an ornamental perennial of park reservoirs, gardens, domestic ponds or large aquariums. However, it is important to remember that it is a poisonous plant! It contains alkaloids including nufarin and nufaridin, which have a paralyzing effect on the cerebral cortex. Folk medicine used the rhizomes of this poisonous plant to prepare decoctions that were beneficial to skin, such as that damaged by burns.

Nowadays, the medicinal properties of yellow pond lily are also used. It is used to treat neuroses, anxiety and insomnia and an infusion of the flowers, is recommended for urinary tract disorders and kidney disease?

Text : Kalina Adamczyk

Photos : Robert Pisarczyk