Information on Yellow Water-lily

Common Name: Yellow Water-lily
Scientific Name: Nuphar lutea
Irish Name: Cabhán abhann
Family Group: Nymphaeaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Yellow Water-lily could sometimes be confused with:

Waterlily, Fringed,

This can be such a pretty sight on canals, pools, lakes and slow-moving, even stagnant but unpolluted, water.  The large heart-shaped/oval leaves (up to 40cm across) with their overlapping basal lobes make a carpet on the water's surface with other leaves thin, translucent and submerged.  The rich yellow flowers (6cm across) are solitary on robust stalks, a few centimetres above the water's surface and show their overlapping sepals, smaller petals and numerous stamens. They bloom from June to September. The fruit is shaped like a brandy-bottle and stands out of the water and there is a smell of alcohol from the whole plant which attracts pollinating insects. This perennial plant is rooted in mud, tolerates food-rich water and also tolerates shade. This is a native plant belonging to the family Nymphaeaceae.  

My first record of this plant is from 1978 on the Grand Canal, Vicarstown, Co Kildare and I photographed it on the Grand Canal, Dublin in 2007.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Water-lily, Yellow
Water-lily, Yellow

Ducks are well-known to have a penchant for the submerged leaves of Water-lilies.  Small pond dwellers also find habitat within the root system.