Fringed Water Lily15/04/2021
Nymphoides peltata is native to East Asia and the Mediterranean. It is the only species in the genus Nymphoides that can be found in temperate regions. Nymphoides peltata has spread outside its native range and now occurs in North America Ireland, Sweden, and New Zealand.
Nymphoides peltata is an aquatic bottom-rooted perennial species with underwater creeping stolons that extend up to 2 meters. Each node on a stolon can produce a new shoot and roots. Nymphoides peltata has cordate floating leaves that are 3 – 15 cm in diameter, green to yellow-green in colour, have purple-tinted undersides, and are attached to submerged rhizomes. The leaves have slightly wavy margins and support a lax, or loose, inflorescence of two to five yellow, five-petal flowers (2 – 4 cm in diameter) with fringed petal margins. Nymphoides peltata can rise several inches out of the water. Each flower produces a 1.5 – 2.5 cm beaked capsule that holds many flattened seeds with stiff marginal hairs.
Nymphoides peltata is most commonly found in slow-moving rivers, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, but it can also establish in swamps and wetlands. It is also known to occur in ditches, canals, break-through pools of dikes, and backwaters, especially those subject to winter flooding. The presence of Nymphoides peltata can signal an environment with water movement.
It most frequently occurs in water 1 to 1.5 m deep, but it can survive in water between 0.3 and 3.0 meters deep. The ideal substrate for Nymphoides peltata consists of clay or clay covered with a thin layer of sapropel.
Depending on water temperature, Nymphoides peltata flowers between May and October in the Northern Hemisphere and between October and April in the Southern Hemisphere. Each flower survives a single day, while leaves can persist from 23 – 43 days. Seeds are released 32 – 60 days following the end of the flowering period and can germinate under hypoxic conditions. In fall, the aboveground biomass of Nymphoides peltata dies sinks to the substrate and decomposes, and the plant overwinters as dormant rhizomes. These rhizomes can survive freezing temperatures up to -30°C. During the winter, stolons and stems either on or buried beneath the substrate can remain dormant until spring, and some small submerged leaves measuring 1 – 2 cm sometimes grow on these stems. After winter, the species requires light and oxygen to produce new growth and floating leaves begin to appear in spring.
Nymphoides peltata can reproduce vegetatively or sexually. Fragments of one plant, including stolons, rhizomes, and leaves attached to part of a stem, can also develop into a new plant. Seeds are produced either by cross or self-pollination, though self-pollination usually produces fewer and less viable seeds than cross-pollination. Seed dispersal is facilitated by the semi-hydrophobia of seeds, which causes them to float on the water’s surface until disturbed. Seeds are suited to adhering to surfaces such as the flanks, folds of skin on digit webs, and the short feathers on the heads of waterfowl, which are hydrophobic. While in flight, the marginal trichomes surround the seeds keep the seeds attached to the bird, but once again in water, the seeds detach and sink to the substrate, where germination can commence. Adherence to amphibious animals and boats are two other possible dispersal mechanisms.