Yellow Water-lily - Nuphar lutea


Stout rhizomatous plant. Floating leaves oval, cleft to the stalk, submerged leaves shorter stalked, rounded, thin and translucent. Flowers bright yellow, 12 to 40 mm, rising out of the water, with 5 large overlapping sepals, and numerous small petals. Fruit flask shaped.

Similar Species

Other water-lilies (Nymphaea and Nymphoides).  The non-native ornamental spatter-dock (N advena) is occasionally naturalised in the UK but is not recorded in VC55; it has erect leaves, not floating.  Note that some congested plants of the native N lutea may also have semi-erect non-floating leaves.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Non-flowering plants can usually be identified by presence of thin, lettuce-like submerged leaves or 'brandy-bottle' fruits

Recording advice

Photograph of flowering plant, or floating plus submerged leaves, or fruits.


Lakes, ponds, water filled quarries, streams and canals.

When to see it

June to September.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly frequent throughout Britain except in the extreme north.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 134 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as native; locally abundant

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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