White Water-lily - Nymphaea alba


Leaves circular in outline, the basal lobes parallel or diverging, all floating. Flowers white with a male of pale yellow anthers 10 to 20 cm held at water level and with 20 or more petals. Fragrant and with rounded buds.

Similar Species

Coloured Water-lily (N x marliacea) is very similar, but petals with at least a tinge of colour

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Pure white flowers

Recording advice

Photograph of the flowering plant.  This cannot be verified from the leaves, due to similar hybrid species, Nymphaea x marliacea


Lakes and ponds, slow moving rivers and still water rooting in muddy bottoms to a depth of 3 metres.

When to see it

July and August.

Life History

Perennial, sometimes planted.

UK Status

Widespread but occasional in Britain.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 15 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011), it is listed as subspecies alba; Alien (Neophyte); occasional.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map