, also known as the European white water lily
, white water rose
or white nenuphar
, is an aquatic flowering plant of the family Nymphaeaceae
. It is native to North Africa, temperate Asia, Europe and Tropical Asia (India).
It grows in water that is deep and likes large ponds and lakes.
The leaves can be up to in diameter and take up a spread of per plant. The flowers are white and they have many small stamens inside.
It was first published and described by Carl Linnaeus
in his book ' Species Plantarum
', on page 510 in 1753.
The red variety (Nymphaea alba
) is cultivated 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.
J. Presl is sometimes considered a subspecies
of N. alba
L. subsp. candida
(J. Presl) Korsh.).
Distribution and habitat
They are found all over Europe and in parts of North Africa and the Middle East in fresh water.
In Africa, it is found in Algeria
. In temperate Asia, Armenia
. It is found in tropical Asia, within the Indian provinces of Jammu
. Lastly, within Europe, it is found in Belarus
, Russian Federation
, Czech Republic
, United Kingdom
, Bosnia and Herzegovina
It contains the active alkaloid
, 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 maintained this use, though warning against consuming large and frequent doses.