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Published In: Annals of Botany (König & Sims) 2: 70. 1805. (Jun 1805) (Ann. Bot. (König & Sims)) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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NYMPHAEACEAE (water lily family)

Plants perennial, herbaceous aquatics, with extensive, branching rhizomes, rooting at and between the usually closely spaced nodes and sometimes bearing tubers (produced in autumn), often with lacticifers (latex canals), but the sap generally clear or at least not milky. Leaves spirally alternate, long-petiolate (sometimes short-petiolate in submerged leaves or in plants stranded on mud), the petiole to 2 m or more, in some leaves reaching the water surface or slightly emergent, sometimes with reddish or brownish streaks or lines. Stipules sometimes produced, when present represented by often relatively conspicuous, sheathing scales, these sometimes fused into a single unit. Leaf blades attached at the base of a deep sinus (peltate elsewhere), variously shaped, the margin entire but sometimes slightly undulate, usually with a narrow, pale to yellowish or brownish differentiated band, the upper surface flat (the margins rarely curled upward slightly), usually with a noticeable scar at the petiolar attachment, glabrous, often somewhat shiny, rarely reddish-tinged, the undersurface green or slightly to strongly reddish- or purplish-tinged, also sometimes with small brown spots, glabrous or less commonly short-hairy, the venation usually with a single pronounced midvein, the secondary veins numerous, pinnate from the midvein or partially palmate from the petiolar attachment, branched dichotomously 2 or more times above the midpoint, connected by a network of finer crossveins. Inflorescences of solitary flowers, these usually long-stalked directly from the nodes of the rhizome, floating or short-emergent, hypogynous or perigynous (epigynous elsewhere), perfect, actinomorphic. Calyces of 4–8(–14) free sepals, some or all of these usually petaloid in Nuphar, variously shaped. Corollas of numerous free petals, these spirally arranged and overlapping, large and showy or (in Nuphar) inconspicuous and scalelike, variously colored, sometimes grading into the stamens. Stamens numerous, arranged in a dense, overlapping spiral, the innermost and/or outermost sometimes nonfunctional (staminodes), the filament usually flattened, strap-shaped, and 3-nerved, the anther often not sharply differentiated, mostly appearing more or less embedded along the sides or upper surface of the apical portion of the filament, yellow, lacking a differentiated terminal appendage. Pistil 1 per flower, of 5 to numerous fused carpels, the superior or half-inferior (fully inferior elsewhere) ovary with 5 to numerous locules, constricted slightly at the tip below a flattened, expanded, disc-shaped apex, this with a radial pattern of raised stigmatic regions or deep lobes. Placentation diffuse (laminar), the numerous ovules attached all over the partitions between locules. Fruits berrylike or sometimes more or less capsular, usually somewhat spongy or leathery at maturity, indehiscent, or irregularly dehiscent near the base with age. Seeds numerous, narrowly to broadly ovoid, variously colored, sometimes (in Nymphaea) with a membranous, saclike aril. Six genera, about 65 species, nearly worldwide.

The genera Brasenia and Cabomba form an easily distinguished group that is closely related to, but well-separated from the Nymphaeaceae. Some authors have continued to treat these two groups as a single family, Nymphaeaceae (Judd et al., 2008), but many others treat Brasenia and Cabomba in the segregate family Cabombaceae (Les et al., 1999), a practice followed in the present work. Steyermark (1963) and many earlier authors also included the genus Nelumbo in the traditional concept of Nymphaeaceae, but that genus has been shown to be more closely related to a small group of families that includes the Platanaceae (sycamores, plane trees). For more details see the treatment of the Nelumbonaceae and Judd et al. (2008).

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