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Chief Varieties of Water Lilies




Listed are the chief varieties of Water Lilies from which a selection may be made:


Nymphaea alba (White Water Lily). This is the beautiful flower which occurs naturally on many lakes and ponds. Flowering freely in late spring and early summer, it should be planted on large sheets of water in positions where bold effects are desired.


The following are included in the same section:­


Nymphaea a.candidissima. The fine, pure white flowers of this variety are remarkably handsome, and are produced freely throughout the summer. It does best in a considerable depth of water, and is not suitable for shallow, cramped positions. Plenissima, with its numerous pure white petals, is a good double form.


Nymphaea odorata (Sweet Water Lily). A native of North America; the flowers white and sweetly scented. Included amongst its varieties are several beautiful kinds. N.o.rosacea, with small, rosy flowers, is a gem. N.o.sulphurea has deliciously scented flowers of a delicate yellow, with rich golden stamens; the leaves are marbled a brownish red. This variety is distinct by reason of its slender, tapering petals. Grandiflora is larger than the foregoing, the leaves quaintly spotted with red on the underside.


Nymphaea tuberosa. So called from its thick mass of fleshy roots, is a large flowered white Lily of American origin. Of vigorous habit and readily increased by division, it is well suited to large, somewhat exposed pieces of water. The flowers, over six inches across, are freely produced during late summer and autumn. Rubra, in addition to its delicate scent, has magnificent rosy carmine petals, and light orange stamens. Richardsoni, a double white form, possesses the true globe shape of the perfect Water Lily. Rosea is an early flowering kind.


Nymphaea pygmaea, the Siberian Lily, is the smallest of all. The white flowers, barely two inches across, are produced very early, and look especially well resting on the dainty leaf plates. Helvola is one of M. Latour-­Marliac's seedlings, and is distinct not only for its pale yellow flowers, but for the brown blotched leaves, spotted underneath with red. As a few inches of water over the crowns suffice, it is valuable for tubs and basins.


Nymphaea flava (Florida Water Lily). The roots of this variety are fibrous, and the straggling growths are produced somewhat like runners. Charming as it appears to be in its native haunts, it is too delicate for our climate, except in very warm and sheltered localities.


Nymphaea sphaerocarpa. This is often regarded as a variety of N.alba, and is similar in shape. It blooms early, even in cold seasons, the flowers being a soft shade of carmine.


We now come to the beautiful hybrids, which are associated with the name of M. Latour-Marliac. They represent the highest development of the Water Lily, and whilst exhibiting an almost tropical range of color­ing, are remarkably hardy.


N.Marliace albida. This magnificent flower is the queen of white Water Lilies. Single blooms frequently measure eight or nine inches across. The petals are milk white, the stamens rich golden yellow, whilst the leaves, a bright reddish purple when young, change later to a deep glossy green.


N.M.carnea. The bases of the petals are tinged with flesh pink : fragrant.


N M.rosea. Deep rosy pink in color : the flowers large and of good shape.


N M.chromatella (Canary Water Lily). This is one of the finest. The petals are sulphur-yellow, shading to a deeper tinge. The leaves form an admirable setting to the flowers, being a distinct red, blotched with dark maroon.


N.M.fammea. Truly beautiful, with its vinous stamens and white petals flaked with red.


N.M ignea. The petals of this variety are of a rich crimson hue, forming a marked contrast to the orange stamens and rose tipped sepals. A plant or two should be in every collection.


N.M.rubro-punctata. The large flowers at first sight appear a reddish carmine, revealing on closer inspection delicately marbled petals, and sepals stained with lilac, with an olive green backing. The stamens are orange-red.


The foregoing are the giants of the race, and require for their perfect development ample space and a good depth of water - not less than five feet. Growth is so robust that it is useless to cramp them in small ponds.


For those whose water gardens are restricted in size, the Laydekeri section offers many charming forms. In shallow pools, fountain basins, and tanks they display their beauty to great advantage.


N.Laydekeri fulgens. A small but glorious flower. On a sunny day the glowing amaranth cups, each holding a bunch of fiery stamens, form a picture not easily surpassed.


N.Laydekeri fulva. The leaves are mottled with brownish patches; the flowers a warm cream, marked with red.


N.Laydekeri liliacea. This is quite a small lily, scarcely more than two inches in diameter when fully expanded. The stamens are yellow and the petals a silvery lilac. It is one of the daintiest in the whole group.


N.Laydekeri purpurata. Deep, rosy crimson petals, with clusters of vivid orange-scarlet stamens. The flowers are particularly well shaped.


N.Laydekeri lucida. This is a splendid variety. The flowers are of a rich vermilion hue, with deeper shading towards the center; the petals tipped with white. The leaves are marbled with chestnut markings.


N.Laydekeri rosea. This hybrid is one of the most difficult to propagate, and is usually increased by seed­ing. The small, rosy flowers, passing to white at the petal ends, are produced in great abundance.


The following hybrids are deliciously fragrant and are suited to small tanks and tubs.


N.odorata exquisita. A deep shade of rosy pink, becoming almost crimson at the base of the petals.


N.odorata minor. A small, white Lily, found in New Jersey


N.odorata caroliniana. The flowers of this hybrid are pale pink, the reputed parents being N.o.rosea and N.alba candidissima. Nivea, a white variety, and Per­fecta, with large, flesh-colored flowers, are other desir­able forms.


Where space permits, a plant or two of the following should be included in the collection. Though men­tioned last, they contain some of the finest Water Lilies in existence.


N.robinsoni. This is one of the best of M.Latour­-Marliac's raising. The flowers are large and of a deep rose or lustrous crimson color. The petals are suffused with white and the stamens are bright orange. It is quite distinct and exceptionally beautiful.


N.gloriosa. Generally considered one of the finest of the Marliacea productions. The color is a brilliant rose, and the possession of five sepals, instead of the customary four, gives a much greater spread to the fully opened flowers.


N.sanguinea. Deep carmine petals, with vivid orange-red stamens.


N.lucida. The petals shade from blush rose down to a soft, deep red at the base. The leaves are marbled with maroon. This is a particularly fine Lily.


Altogether humbler than the above, and yet possess­ing a charm of its own, the Nuphar family deserves mention. For wild water gardens containing mainly native plants, a patch of the common Yellow Water­ Lily (N.lutea) is effective. A smaller variety, known as Minima, occurs in Scotland . Much finer, and with bold, erect leaves, the North American Water Lily (N.advena) should be freely planted in ponds or lakes where the depth of water does not exceed three feet.




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