|European white waterlily|
It grows in water that is 30–150 cm (12–59 in) deep and likes large ponds and lakes. The leaves can be up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter and they take up a spread of 150 cm (59 in) per plant. The flowers are white and they have many small stamens inside. It is found all over Europe and in parts of North Africa and the Middle East in freshwater.
The red variety (Nymphaea alba f. rosea) which is in cultivation came from lake Fagertärn ("Fair tarn") in the forest of Tiveden, Sweden, where they were discovered in the early 19th century. The discovery led to a large scale exploitation which nearly made it extinct in the wild before it was protected.
It contains the active alkaloids nupharine and nymphaeine, and is a sedative and an aphrodisiac/anaphrodisiac depending on sources. Although roots and stalks are used in traditional herbal medicine along with the flower, the petals and other flower parts are the most potent. Alcohol can be used to extract the active alkaloids, and it also boosts the sedative effects. The root of the plant was used by monks and nuns for hundreds of years as an anaphrodisiac, being crushed and mixed with wine. In the earliest printed medical textbooks, authors would maintain this area of use, though warning against consuming large and frequent doses.
- "White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)". www.dnr.state.mn.us. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- Anderberg, Anders (1996). "Vit näckros". www.linnaeus.nrm.se (in Swedish). Swedish Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- Wallsten, Maud; Thorson, Jan; Werlemark, Gun (2005). "Härstammar Claude Monets röda näckrosor från Fagertärn i Närke?" [Are Claude Monet's red water lilies derived from Fagertärn in Närke?] (PDF). Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift (in Swedish) (99:3–4): 146–153. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- Nielsen (1979). Giftplanter [Poisonous plants]. Gyldendals grønne håndbøger (in Norwegian). Cappelen. pp. 68–69. ISBN 8701318411.
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