As we traveled to various gardens I have narrowed down one of my favorite plants. As peaceful as garden may be the vibrant colors of the flowers and the buzzing of the bee’s sometimes make a beautiful flower garden chaotic in a sense. With all of nature’s movement and action one plant remains, in a sense, calm to me. The water lily, natures peace sign. With a notch taken out of the lily pad it looks like the start of a peace sign. With all of the hustle and bustle of the world around the water lily remains calm in the water. As the young leaves strive to break the surface of the water the older more mature lily pads with the water on their backs and sunlight in their faces get to enjoy a summer vacation many of us dream of. To me they are the guardians of the pond. While waiting to sprout a water lily one of the ancient symbols of peace and unity it provides shelter, shade and food for many marine animals. Since no one is perfect some species of these water lilies can be dangerous and harmful to marine habitats. One example is the fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorata), which is native to eastern North America. However, the species is now found throughout North America and other parts of the world. It is very problematic in Washington, where it has been introduced into lakes and has grown so quickly and at such high density that it has covered entire lakes without allowing sunlight or movement of the water causing the water to become stagnate. This directly affects the survival of fish and other species.
Nymphaeaceae is a family of flowering plants, commonly called water lilies. They live as rhizomatous aquatic herbs in temperate and tropical climates. The family contains about 70 known species. Water lilies are rooted in soil or mud in calm bodies of water, with leaves and flowers floating on or trying to emerge to the surface. The leaves are round, with a notch in the Nymphaea and Nuphar family, but fully circular (without a notch) in Victoria and Euryale. The largest water lilies are those of the tropical South American genus Victoria, comprising two species of giant water lilies. These pads are typically 2-6 feet in diameter and have flowers from 7-16 inches in diameter.