Fringed Water-lily

Fringed Water-lily

Fringed Water-lily - Nymphoides peltata

The round, floating leaves of this beautiful water plant led Botanists in the past to mistakingly think that it belonged to the same family as Water-lilies.

We now know that, like the Bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata, it is related to the Gentians and its morphological similarities with other aquatic plants is a clear example of evolutionary convergence, the result of its adaptation to the same habitat.

The Fringed Water lily is anchored to the bottom by means of a long, slender creeping rhizome, from which grow its strong, flexible stems; these vary in length, from a few centimetres to almost 2 metres, depending on the depth of the water.

The leaves, up to 12 cm large, lie open on the water surface, like those of Water-lilies. The flowers have a brilliant yellow corolla, composed of 5 petals delicately fringed round the edges.

They are joined to the stem at the base of the leaves by stalks up to 10 cm long, which completely emerge from the water when the plant is in flower, from June to August.

This species grows in quite shallow, still or slow-flowing waters (sheets of water, ponds, ditches), which tend to warm up.

In Italy it only grows in a few suitable habitats, in the Po Valley, Tuscany, Lazio and Sardinia and can therefore be considered as very rare and protected.

It seemed to have disappeared from the Fucecchio Marshes, but was rediscovered in the second half of the 80's, although it has not been seen since 1999.