Most modern treatments of this genus have combined Nymphaea capensis and Nymphaea caerulea into this species, as the subspp Nymphaea nouchali capensis and Nymphaea nouchali caerulea[
Castalia scutifolia Salisb.
Nymphaea caerulea Savigny
Nymphaea calliantha Conard
Nymphaea capensis Thunb.
Nymphaea emirnensis Planch.
Nymphaea engleri Gilg
Nymphaea madagascariensis DC.
Nymphaea magnifica Gilg
Nymphaea mildbraedii Gilg
Nymphaea muschleriana Gilg
Nymphaea nelsonii Burtt Davy
Nymphaea nubica Lehm.
Nymphaea scutifolia (Salisb.) DC.
Nymphaea spectabilis Gilg
Nymphaea stellata Willd.
Common Name: Blue Waterlilly
The rice paddy field, after rain, become a waterlily pool
Photograph by: Ranjith-chemmad
Blue waterlilly is an herbaceous plant with a perennial, tuberous rootstock. It grows from the bottom of ponds and lakes, producing a rosette of leaves that float on the surface of the water.
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for its edible and medicinal properties. It is sometimes also grown as a food crop and is commonly cultivated as an ornamental.
All parts of the plant, except for the seeds, contain the alkaloid nymphaeine. This alkaloid is toxic to frogs and produces tetanus-like symptoms[
Tropical Africa, through Asia to Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea and Australia.
Rivers, lakes and pools[
]. Shallow ponds, ditches and lakes at elevations up to 500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in tropical and subtropical regions[
Prefers a sunny position in a shallow pond[
The flowers open of a daytime and are sweetly fragrant[
Seed - boiled or ground into flour[
]. The flour is used in mixture with barley and wheat flour for bread production[
The flowers are used as vegetables[
Leaves and flower stalks - eaten as a vegetable[
Tubers - raw, boiled or roasted[
]. A rich source of starch[
]. It can also be dried then ground into a flour, which can be used to make porridge[
]. A famine food[
]. The root is considered to be poisonous unless it is cooked[
Blue waterlilly has a long history of traditional medicinal use and modern research has shown the presence of several medically active compounds in the plant[
The alkaloid nymphaeine is found in all parts of the plant, other than the seed, whilst coclaurine has been found in the leaves and stem[
]. The plant contains several flavonoids such as kaempferols, quercetins and myricetins - these are found especially in the flowers[
], The plant also contains a glycoside, nymphalin, which has a digitalis-like action upon the heart[
Alcoholic extracts of the rhizome, containing the alkaloid nymphaeine, have a mild sedative and spasmolytic action. They do not significantly depress the heart; in large doses though, they have a paralysing effect on the medulla[
The rhizomes are considered to be astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient and tonic[
]. A decoction is given in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach ache, colic and dyspepsia[
]. An infusion of the fresh rhizomes is used for treating blennorrhagia and infections of the urinary tract[
]. The powdered rhizome is used as a demulcent for treating piles[
The slightly bitter juice of the leaves and petioles is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[
The juice possesses mildly narcotic properties, and is rubbed on the forehead and temples to produce sleep[
The juice from the leaves, or the macerated leaves, are an ingredient of a lotion applied to the skin for fever[
The flowers are taken as a cardiotonic because of their astringent properties[
The rhizomes are a source of tannins[
Seed - needs to be kept moist prior to sowing. Sow seed, together with the surrounding pulp, in pots covered by about 25mm of water at 23 - 27c[
]. Prick out into individual pots when the first floating leaves appear and gradually raise the water level as they grow[
Division, or the removal of a portion of the rhizome with a sprouting eye[
]. Pot up into a small immersed pot and pot on as the plant grows until the roots fill a 10cm pot, by which time it is large enough to plant out[
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