Nymphaea alba L.

White Waterlily

Sp. Pl. 510 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Rhizomes horizontal, strong, vigorous, branching, producing roots all along their length. Leaves suborbicular with a radial sinus, to c. 30 cm diam., dark green above, paler and reddish below, margins obscurely sinuate. Flowers to c. 20 cm diam., floating, closing at night; sepals 4, lanceolate, green, white inside; petals 20–25, broad-ovate, white, cream, pink, orange or red, passing into petaloid stamens; stamens c. 50, yellow; ovary lobes 14–20, yellow. Berry sub-globose to obovoid, 1.8–4 cm diam.; seeds (not observed in Victorian specimens) many, c. 3 mm long or more. Flowers mostly summer.

*CVU, *DunT, *GipP, *HSF, *MuF, *OtP. Also naturalised NSW. Native of Europe. Reported as naturalised in Victoria in a swamp at Glenthompson, along the Barwon River near Geelong and at Studley Park. Apparently deliberately introduced and reproducing vegetatively, possibly with the assistance of water fowl.

The cultivated waterlilies are chiefly hybrids and cultivars derived from N. alba. The above description includes these as well as the 2 commonly accepted subspecies of N. alba (subsp. alba and subsp. occidentalis Ostenf).

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1996). Nymphaeaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Nymphaeanae
order Nymphaeales
family Nymphaeaceae
genus Nymphaea
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Nymphaea alba in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Nymphaea alba in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Fans present introduced
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present introduced
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales