Wed Mar 2023

Yellow Pond Lily

I looked out one day and there it was, a yellow water lily. I had never seen one before and ran to look it up. I learned they are native to Europe, northwest Africa, western Asia, and North America. The common name is “Yellow Pond Lily.” Locally, it’s also called “Spatterdock.”

No doubt it came to our pond in the belly of a waterbird, or stuck to the hull of a boat. I wonder if it’s really new to the pond, as I suspect, or has it been around for a while. Does anyone know?

It’s hard to be sure from the photo, but I think this may be the Eurasian species, Nuphar lutea, rather than the eastern, North American native, Nuphar advena (“Spatterdock”). Apparently, the various Nuphar species have become globalized, along with us humans.

In my reading, I was impressed by the large number and variety of creatures — crawling, walking, flying, swimming — for whom this widely admired plant provides food or shelter. Although it is not considered invasive, it can form a thick mat that is hard to eradicate, due to roots, or rhizomes, that it sends deep into the muddy pond floor.

For further details, visit the page, Yellow Pond Lily. It is chock full of information in highly readable form. (Scroll down to view the creature chart.) The plant featured at the top of the page is identified on the photo as the Eurasian Nuphar luteum or lutea, when almost certainly it is the native species, Nuphar advena, as the text correctly states. This discrepancy is probably due to recent changes, by botanists, in how these species are classified.

The second photo, above, purports to show a slimy, grassy plant that appeared late last summer. Anglers passing near shore complained to me about it, saying it had been getting tangled in their lines. One added that he’d been fishing here for years, and had never seen anything like it. Hopefully, it’ll be gone after the herbicide treatment next spring.

What do the yellow lily and the grassy plant have in common? That is, why do they share this post? There are several reasons, probably trivial. Both plants are new to me, and may be new to the pond, both can become nuisances if left unchecked, and both were photographed on the same day, September 13, 2013.

Click an image to view it full screen, and click the back arrow to return. Cursor ever each for its description. If you click the top image a second time, you’ll see what looks like a freshwater snail on one of the lily pads.