Nymphaea odorata Aiton
Coefficient of Conservatism: 6
Coefficient of Wetness: -5
Wetness Index: OBL
Physiognomy: Nt P-Forb

Nymphaea odorata subsp. odorata G. E. Crow subsp. odorata

Ponds and sheltered areas of lakes and rivers, the mature leaf blades all floating on the surface of the water. Occasionally, foliage and even flowers can be found amid sphagnum and shrubs in a bog mat, silent testimony to plant succession from the days before the water-lily was engulfed by the mat as it grew toward the center of the bog lake. Our common white water-lilies have long been considered to represent two species, but are now usually regarded as one, with some authors recognizing the variation at the rank of subspecies; the subsp. odorata, often a smaller plant with petioles lacking red stripes and leaf blades usually with purple undersides, and subsp. tuberosa (Paine) Wiersma & Hellquist, a mostly larger plant with petioles purple-striped and leaves green or faintly purple tinged beneath. Both are widespread in Michigan and intermediate plants also occur.

Flowers are almost always white, but a few colonies of pink flowered plants are known, from Crawford, Leelanau, Marquette, Otsego, and Schoolcraft Cos.

A much darker, magenta flowered Nymphaea found by A. T. Schubel in 2018 in the east branch of the Maple River, Cheboygan Co., is, however, an escaped cultivar, probably of hybrid origin with N. odorata as one parent because of its strong fragrance. 


Alcona County
Alger County
Allegan County
Alpena County
Antrim County
Arenac County
Baraga County
Barry County
Bay County
Benzie County
Berrien County
Branch County
Calhoun County
Cass County
Charlevoix County
    Including Beaver Island
Cheboygan County
Chippewa County
    Including Drummond Island
Clare County
Clinton County
Crawford County
Dickinson County
Emmet County
Genesee County
Gladwin County
Gogebic County
Grand Traverse County
Gratiot County
Hillsdale County
Houghton County
Ingham County
Iosco County
Iron County
Isabella County
Kalamazoo County
Kalkaska County
Kent County
Keweenaw County
    Including Isle Royale
Lake County
Lapeer County
Leelanau County
Lenawee County
Livingston County
Luce County
Mackinac County
    Including Bois Blanc, Mackinac, Round Islands
Manistee County
Marquette County
Mason County
Mecosta County
Menominee County
Missaukee County
Monroe County
Montcalm County
Montmorency County
Muskegon County
Newaygo County
Oakland County
Oceana County
Ogemaw County
Ontonagon County
Osceola County
Otsego County
Ottawa County
Presque Isle County
Roscommon County
Schoolcraft County
Shiawassee County
St. Clair County
St. Joseph County
Van Buren County
Washtenaw County
Wayne County


MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. November 29, 2022. https://michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=1730.