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Nymphaea odorata Aiton ssp. odorata . Subgenus: Nymphaea. White Waterlily. Phen: Jun-Sep. Hab: Ponds, sluggish waters. Dist: NL (Newfoundland) west to MB, south to FL and TX and n. Mexico; also scattered in the w. United States as an introduction.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Taxonomy Comments: N. odorata is polymorphic, leading to the naming of numerous species, subspecies, and varieties (see synonymy for a few of the named entities). Wiersema in FNA (1997) recognizes ssp. odorata (most of our plants) and ssp. tuberosa (Paine) Wiersema & Hellquist, more western and northern, but edging into our area. Other named entities warrant further evaluation. N. odorata var. gigantea [= Castalia lekophylla Small] occurs on the Coastal Plain, and is considered to differ from var. odorata in its larger leaves (1.5-6 dm in diameter vs. 0.5-2.5 dm), larger flowers (mostly > 15 cm wide vs. mostly < 10 cm), and leaves upturned at the margins (vs. flat). N. odorata var. minor [= Castalia minor (Sims) Nyar] is considered to differ from var. odorata in its generally smaller size, leaves 5-11 cm in diameter, flowers mostly < 8 cm wide (vs. mostly > 9 cm wide); it may be merely a dwarfed form of extremely nutrient-limited waters of the Coastal Plain.

Synonymy: = AqW, Ar, FNA3, K1, K3, K4, Mi, NY, Va, Borsch et al (2014), Borsch et al (2017), Woods et al (2005a), Woods et al (2005b); = Nymphaea odorata Aiton – GrPl, GW2, Il, NE, Tat; > Castalia lekophylla Small – S; > Castalia minor (Sims) Nyar – S; > Castalia odorata (Aiton) Wood – S; < Nymphaea odorata Aiton – Fl2, NcTx, Pa, RAB, Tx, WH3, WV; > Nymphaea odorata Aiton var. gigantea Tricker – C, F, G; > Nymphaea odorata Aiton var. godfreyi D.B.Ward; > Nymphaea odorata Aiton var. minor Sims; > Nymphaea odorata Aiton var. odorata – F, G; >< Nymphaea odorata Aiton var. odorata – C; > Nymphaea odorata Aiton var. stenopetala Fernald – F

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: OBL (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: OBL (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Great Plains: OBL (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Midwest: OBL (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Northcentral & Northeast: OBL (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)

Heliophily ?: 8

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image of plant© J.W. Hardin | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© J.W. Hardin | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷

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