Common Water Lily

Also known as:
European White Water Lily

General description

Stout horizontal rhizome up to 60mm across. Stems are spongy, up to 3 m long. Leathery leaves round to elliptic (10 – 25 cm diameter) with a deep sinus, green or pink on the lower surface with a distinct main vein. Flower (Jan-Jun) white or pale pink with a yellow centre (hybrids can have red, yellow or blue flowers) and are up to 20cm across, these float on or just above the water surface from long stems that arise from the roots.

In water up to 2 m deep. Open still-slow moving water in lakes, dams, ponds.

Rhizome extension and fragmentation, rarely by seed. Deliberate plantings.

Can grow quickly in warm open water bodies. Thick dead stems can float to the water surface where they collect silt and create a floating mat that can become habitat for other weeds such as gypsywort. Shades out submerged native species and can reduce habitat for bird species that need open water.

Site management

Always begin treatment at top of catchment and work downstream. Follow up as required.

Recommended approaches

1. Mechanical removal.
2. Spray emergent foliage (300ml glyphosate/10L, use glyphosate formulation approved for use over water). Repeat as necessary.

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Mexican water lily
Nymphaea mexicana

Mexican water lily has vertical rhizomes whereas common water lily has horizontal ones.

Nymphoides geminata

Marshwort have thin stolons, unlike the thick spongy ones of common water lily. It also has a has a small five-petalled flower with feathery edges.

Search tags

RPMS status

Not a legally declared pest plant
common water lily - Main species image