Nuphar lutea

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Nuphar lutea
Nuphar lutea (habitus).jpg
Nuphar lutea at Leiemeersen, Oostkamp, Belgium
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Order: Nymphaeales
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nuphar
Section: Nuphar sect. Nuphar
N. lutea
Binomial name
Nuphar lutea

Nuphar lutea, the yellow water-lily, or brandy-bottle, is an aquatic plant of the family Nymphaeaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia.[1][2]


This aquatic plant grows in shallow water and wetlands, with its roots in the sediment and its leaves floating on the water surface; it can grow in water up to 5 metres deep.[3] It is usually found in shallower water than the white water lily, and often in beaver ponds. Since the flooded soils are deficient in oxygen, aerenchyma in the leaves and rhizome transport oxygen to the rhizome. Often there is mass flow from the young leaves into the rhizome, and out through the older leaves.[4] The rhizomes are often consumed by muskrats. The flower is solitary, terminal, held above the water surface; it is hermaphrodite, 2–4 cm diameter, with five or six large bright yellow sepals and numerous small yellow petals largely concealed by the sepals. Flowering is from June to September, and pollination is entomophilous, by flies attracted to the alcoholic scent.[3] The flower is followed by a green bottle-shaped fruit, containing numerous seeds which are dispersed by water currents. The species is less tolerant of water pollution than water-lilies in the genus Nymphaea.[3]


Some botanists have treated Nuphar lutea as the sole species in Nuphar, including all the other species in it as subspecies and giving the species a holarctic range,[5][6] but the genus is now more usually divided into eight species (see Nuphar for details).[7]

The common name 'brandy bottle' is derived from the aroma produced by the flowers which is similar to stale alcohol.[8]


Flag of Frisia

Stylized red leaves of the yellow water lily, known as seeblatts or pompeblêden are used as a symbol of Frisia. The flag of the Dutch province of Friesland features seven pompeblêden. Stone masons carved forms of the flowers on the roof bosses of Bristol Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, these are thought to encourage celibacy.[8]



  1. ^ Flora Europaea: Nuphar lutea
  2. ^ "Nuphar lutea". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  4. ^ Dacey, J. W. H. (1981). Pressurized ventilation in the yellow water lily. Ecology, 62, 1137–47.
  5. ^ Beal, E. O. (1956). Taxonomic revision of the genus Nuphar Sm. of North America and Europe. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 72: 317–346.
  6. ^ "Plants Profile: Nuphar lutea". Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  7. ^ USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network: Nuphar Archived 2009-08-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain. Reader's Digest. 1981. p. 29. ISBN 9780276002175.