Nuphar polysepala

Today we once again feature a photograph from the album of annkelliott, which provided us with an equally lovely image of a different yellow flower last month. We begin the day’s entry with an excerpt from Ann’s account of her encounter with this particular aquatic perennial species, and we then include a few further lines of relevant details.

"Two days later, I am STILL on a natural high after seeing these gorgeous wild yellow pond-lilies for the very first time. We spent a full day on Thursday botanizing the Bentz Lake Natural Area, north of Calgary and west of Sundre, and these yellow pond-lilies were growing near the edge of the lake. To get to them from the forest where we were exploring, we had to make our way through a very watery bog…Apart from one small mishap that left one friend soaked to his upper thighs, we managed it with only soaking wet feet. This native, aquatic member of the water-lily family grows in lakes and ponds from June to August. The yellow flower is 4-7 cm. across, and has 6 petal-like sepals and several small, inconspicuous petals."

A thick stalk supports the floating leaves and the terminal, cup-shaped flower of the pond-lily that Ann encountered. The flower bears between 8 and 17 sepals, and between 10 and 20 tiny petals that are partially concealed by the stamens. The plant is widely distributed throughout western Canada, and it generally thrives in shallow, slow-moving freshwater at lower elevations. In early fall, the flower gives way to a tough capsular fruit that releases a thick cluster of edible seeds into the surrounding water.

Parts and extracts from the plant have a long and diverse history of medical application, with addressed afflictions ranging from ulcers, broken bones, and sore joints to tuberculosis, heart disease, asthma, and chest pains.

Thank you for this stunning photograph, Ann.

Click here to see Ann’s original image in our Flickr Pool.

Nuphar polysepalum

13 responses to “Nuphar polysepala”

  1. Martin Torres

    I’ve been watching the Plant of the Day page for a while now and I find the diversity wonderful. Equally wonderful is that you featured one of the four Nymphaeales I’m studying!
    If I may add:
    -Nuphar is protogynous, meaning the stigmatic surface (the part with the radial lines) is functional on the first day. Donacia beetles, the primary pollinator of Nuphar lutea, are trapped overnight the first night and eat the floral parts and complete pollination. The second and third days the anthers are dehiscent and release pollen which covers visiting beetles during the day.
    Thank you so much for sharing this today, especially the ethnobotanical portion.

  2. Amanda Macdonald

    On a dreich ‘summer’ day in Aberdeen, this is utterly glorious!

  3. Connie

    What a great RSS BPotDay is, and I love and am entertained by and learn from the comments nearly as much as the gorgeous pictures. Yes, the diversity… Thanks!
    This yellow waterlily brings back one of my few vivid memories of interacting w/ my dad when I was a child. He had taken us fishing in the North Woods (Wisconsin, we stayed in a cabin I think) and when we were out in a rowboat he reached down into the water and picked me a waterlily, I know i wanted to touch it and smell it. The boat was tippy, I had a thrill but we didn’t capsize, and my Daddy gave me this beautiful flower that looked just like this one except it had no red on it- just yellow. What a great day that was!

  4. Jinian

    Beautiful! Unfortunately, your RSS feed seems to be broken to Livejournal; I’m not sure why, but the closing angle-bracket of the IMG tag is missing. Is this something you can fix?

  5. Lanie

    when we were kids and camping at Blue Lake in extreame north east California. my sister and cousins would get in the boat and spend hours in the end of the lake that had a bog getting these pretty yellow flowers for our Great Aunt Mary to put in the camper. of course our wonderful aunt Mary loved them. she would have loved dead sticks if we brought them for her. she was that kind of wonderful woman. I love them still they are so bright and beautiful

  6. Sunny

    What are these little flies on the flower doing and could they an accidental pollinator?

  7. Ann Kent

    Thank you to Ann for the gorgeous photo and her story and to Stephen for the comments on medical applications – plant pictures, stories, and herbal knowledge are very important to me as a horticultural therapist. I too have wonderful memories of gently paddling a canoe close to the pond-lilies on lakes here in BC and watching all the wildlife to be found on and around them. I sometimes take my laptop to work and share Botany Photo of the Day with the residents in the complex care facilities where I work.

  8. Helen

    What a lovely yellow flower and website with which to begin the day. The two comments re-living childhood memories brought a tear to my eye. When an adult touches a child with kindness, that moment can be remembered forever. It seems to me a child responds to kindness of an adult like a flower to the sun, and like the flower can be influenced forever by the encounter.

  9. chico

    What a beautiful flower, equally as beautiful were Helen’s comments about children responding to kindness as a flower does to the sun. Very inspiring.

  10. Jennifer Frazer

    In Rocky Mountain National Park there is a pond called Nymph Lake full of these lilies growing at 9,700 feet. It is on one of the most popular hiking trails in the park. For half the year the pond is frozen and thousands of people tromp over it in their snowshoes or skis on their way up to Dream or Emerald Lake. Then the ice melts and the lilies emerge fresh and glorious as ever. A few summers ago I parked myself on a bench to sketch them . . .

  11. elizabeth a airhart

    fine fine picture of the day
    the national park service page usa
    has a number of images one of the emerging
    plant comeing up into the daylight
    ann kent’s page is lovely

  12. aminu abubakar chiranchi

    what an elegant flower thanks for ur contribution am glad to be part of this garden.

  13. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    I love water-plants. I remember seeing this lily in Ontario lakes and ponds through my childhood. The name I heard it called was rather inelegant and unromantic: Bull-head lily. This name doesn’t seem to fit the flower or its setting!

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