Nuphar is a type of aquatic or water-living species of plant. Also known as the cow lily or water lily, these types of plants produce leaves that typically float on the surface of a body of water. Another name for the nuphar or water lily is spatterdock. This genus of plant is typically found in the western part of the United States.
Many of the leaves on most nuphar species may inundate layers of water, sinking below the surface as well. Nuphar can be found in small bodies of water such as ponds and streams. They will occasionally occupy lakes, although to a smaller degree. The flowers of this aquatic plant will bloom typically from late April through early September.
Leaves on a nuphar are not asymmetrical, but tend to produce an irregular pattern. Most are circular, with tapered ends. The stems of the nuphar are elongated and thin. Flowers of this plant are a pale yellow color and semi-closed. The inside of the flower are shades of reddish-orange.
Yellow pond lillies are yet another name for this species of plant. Leaves of this plant are generally large in size. A single leaf can measure approximately 4-10 inches in length (11-50 cm) and 3-11 inches in width (8-29 cm). The surface of the leaves is rough in texture, and they produce a thick coating.
When fully mature, the water lily looks similar to that of a cabbage patch. The flowers have a blanched, almost waxen appearance to them. Upon blooming, flower petals will produce an aromatic scent, which lasts for a short duration. This genus does bear fruit, which produces a series of tan to brown colored seeds.
Geese, ducks, and small mammals use the nuphar as a food source. The seeds and leaves provide some nutrition during the colder months and during breeding season. The water lily also provides an excellent environment for many species of fish.
In past times, Native Americans also consumed nuphar. These people would often prepare a meal by crushing the leaves along with the roots. It would then be turned into a flour-like paste they would use for making pancakes, to which various fruits were added. A tea was also made from brewing the roots, although high doses lead to toxicity. This plant was also applied as a topical ointment for treating swelling and inflammation.