Nymphaea nouchali

Nymphaea nouchali


Common Names

Blouwaterlelie (afrikaans)
Blue Waterlily (english)
iZubu (zulu)
iNtekwane (xhosa)


Genus Nymphaea
Species nouchali
SA Plant Number
Basionym Nymphaea nouchali


Nymphaea nouchali is a hardy, deciduous waterlily.

It has glossy, circular, floating leaves that turn lovely colours in autumn.

The flowers are a beautiful sky blue through pale lilac to pink flowers with masses of yellow stamens in the centre. These are carried on longish stems above the surface of the water from September to May.

This is a submerged plant that should be planted to a depth of no less than 25cm in sun or light shade.

Used in traditional medicine for coughs and colds.

In habitat the fruit is eaten by the Purple Gallinule.

Size: Floating parts spread to 1m diameter


Pollination mechanism:
The Waterlily's pollination strategy is very interesting, but quite macabre!
When the flowers open and some of the stamens are folded over in the middle, this is the male phase of the flower and the insects can visit it with impunity.
The following day when the flower opens, the stamens are all folded back to reveal a pool of liquid in the centre.
Now! If an insect visits the flower and tries to collect pollen the stamens are slippery and they slide down into the liquid, the flower closes over them and the insect drowns.
The flower is not carnivorous. The pollen washes off the insect and the insect drowns.



Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape


Natural Habitat:
Ponds and dams



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