Water-lily, Yellow

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:


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

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.   

Water-lily, Yellow
Water-lily, Yellow