Nymphaea alba

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaNymphaeaceaeNymphaeaNymphaea alba


N. alba grows in lakes, ponds, the backwaters of rivers or large ditches, and occasionally in mires. It tolerates a wide range of water chemistry but lacks submerged leaves and is therefore vulnerable to disturbance by boats. Generally lowland, but reaching 405 m at Dock Tarn (Cumberland) and formerly 480 m at Angle Tarn (Westmorland).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Standing water and canals

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 11

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1090

Length: 150

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Perennial hydrophyte (perennial water plant)



Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1511

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 340

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 5

Atlas Change Index: 1.02

Weighted Changed Factor: 24

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (27b)
Heslop-Harrison (1955b)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1989)
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Preston CD, Croft JM
1997.  Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland.