Temporal range: 130–0Ma Early Cretaceous - Recent
|Giant Water Lily sprouting a flower|
Nymphaeaceae // is a family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called water lilies and live in freshwater areas in temperate and tropical climates around the world. The family contains eight genera. There are about 70 species of water lilies around the world. The genus Nymphaea contains about 35 species across the Northern Hemisphere. The genus Victoria contains two species of giant water lilies and can be found in South America. Water lilies are rooted in soil in bodies of water, with leaves and flowers floating on the water surface. The leaves are round, with a radial notch in Nymphaea and Nuphar, but fully circular in Victoria.
Water lilies are divided into two main categories: hardy and tropical. Hardy water lilies bloom only during the day, but tropical water lilies can bloom either during the day or at night, and are the only group to contain blue-flowered plants.
Nymphaeaceae has been investigated systematically for decades because of the belief that they represent one of the earliest groups of angiosperms. Its position has been somewhat doubtful as the anatomy of these plants is more close to that of monocotyledons, while the venation of the leaves would indicate that they are dicotyledons. Nymphaeaceae is placed in the order Nymphaeales, which is the second diverging group of angiosperms after Amborella in the APG III-classification.
Nymphaeaceae is a small family of three to six genera: Barclaya, Euryale, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Ondinea and Victoria. The genus Barclaya is sometimes given rank as its own family, Barclayaceae, on the basis of an extended perianth tube (combined sepals and petals) arising from the top of the ovary and by stamens that are joined in the base. However. molecular phylogenetic work includes it in Nymphaeaceae. The genus Ondinea has recently been shown to be a morphologically aberrant species of Nymphaea, and should be included in this genus. The genera Euryale, of far east Asia, and VIctoria, from South America, are closely related despite their geographic distance, but their relationship toward Nymphaea need further studies.
The Nymphaeaceae are aquatic, rhizomatous herbs. The family is further characterized by scattered vascular bundles in the stems, and frequent presence of latex, usually with distinct, stellate-branched sclereids projecting into the air canals. Hairs are simple, usually producing mucilage (slime). Leaves are alternate and spiral, opposite or occasionally whorled, simple, peltate or nearly so, entire to toothed or dissected, short to long Petiole (botanyiolate), with blade submerged, floating or emergent, with palmate to pinnate venation. Stipules are either present or absent. Flowers are solitary, bisexual, radial, with a long pedicel and usually floating or raised above the surface of the water, with girdling vascular bundles in receptacle. Tepals are 4-12, distinct to connate, imbricate, and often petal-like. Petals lacks or 8 to numerous, inconspicuous to showy, often intergrading with stamens. Stamens are 3 to numerous, the innermost sometimes represented by staminodes. Filaments are distinct, free or adnate to petaloid staminodes, slender and well differentiated from anthers to laminar and poorly differentiated from anthers; pollen grains usually monosulcate or lacking apertures. Carpels are 3 to numerous, distinct or connate. Fruit is an aggregate of nuts, a berry, or an irregularly dehiscent fleshy capsule. Seeds are often arillate, more or less lacking sperm.
As invasive species 
The beautiful nature of water lilies has led to their widespread use as ornamental plants. The Mexican water lily, native to the gulf coast of North America, is planted throughout the continent. It has escaped from cultivation and become invasive in some areas, such as California's San Joaquin Valley. It can infest slow moving bodies of water and is difficult to eradicate. Populations can be controlled by cutting top growth. Herbicides can also be used to control populations using glyphosate and fluridone.
The water-lily has a special place in Tamil poetics, where it is considered symbolic of the grief of separation; it is considered to evoke imagery of the sunset, the seashore and the shark. Sangam landscape
In visual arts 
See also 
- [dead link]
- Les DH, Schneider EL, Padgett DJ, Soltis PS, Soltis DE, Zanis M (1999) Phylogeny, classification and floral evolution of water lilies (Nymphaeaceae; Nymphaeales): a synthesis of non-molecular, rbcL, matK, and 18S rDNA data. Systematic Botany 24: 28–46.
- Löhne C, Wiersema JH, Borsch T (2009) The unusual Ondinea, actually just another Australian water-lily of Nymphaea subg. Anecphya (Nymphaeaceae). Willdenowia 39: 55–58.
- Löhne C, Borsch T, Wiersema JH (2007) Phylogenetic analysis of Nymphaeales using fast-evolving and noncoding chloroplast markers. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 154: 141–163.
- Borsch T, Löhne C, Wiersema J (2008) Phylogeny and evolutionary patterns in Nymphaeales: integrating genes, genomes and morphology. Taxon 57: 1052–1081.
- Dkhar J, Kumaria S, Rama Rao S, Tandon P (2012) Sequence characteristics and phylogenetic implications of the nrDNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS) in the genus Nymphaea with focus on some Indian representatives. Plant Systematics and Evolution 298: 93–108.
- Nyphaea genus
- The genera of the Nymphaeaceae and Ceratophyllaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 40: 94-112.
- Perry D. Slocum: Waterlilies and Lotuses. Timber Press 2005, ISBN 0-88192-684-1 (restricted online version at Google Books)
- Thomas Borsch, Cornelia Löhne, Mame Samba Mbaye, and John H. Wiersema. 2011. Towards a complete species tree of Nymphaea: shedding further light on subg. Brachyceras and its relationships to the Australian water-lilies. Telopea 13(1-2): 193-217.
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- Data related to Nymphaeaceae at Wikispecies
- Night Bloom Lily
- NCBI Taxonomy Browser
- Phylogenetic analysis of the order Nymphaeales based on the nucleotide sequences of the chloroplast [dead link]
- Flora of North America
- Nymphaeaceae of Mongolia in FloraGREIF