American white water lily (Nymphaea odorata)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: These pictures were taken 07/28/2013, while on a visit to the Mountain Springs Saloon off highway 160 near the top of the Spring Mountain Pass. Located in the center of a picnic area (Fig. 03) behind the saloon is a small, but quite beautiful lilly pond surrounded by reeds and cat-nine-tails. The pond is even filled with a number of gold fish (Fig. 02).
Description: The American white water lily (Nymphaea odorata) (Fig. 01), a.k.a. Fragrant white water lily, Fragrant water lily, White water lily, Sweet-scented white water lily, Sweet-scented water lily, is from the Nymphaeaceae (Water-Lily Family). It is a floating aquatic plant with large, fragrant, white or pink flowers and flat, round, floating leaves. The leaves have long stems and are bright green above and reddish or purplish underneath. The leaves are more round than heart-shaped, bright green, 6 to 12 inches in diameter with the slit about 1/3 the length of the leaf. Floating on the surface of the water, they are narrowly and deeply cut almost to the center, where the stem is attached. There is 1 flower to a stem, white, fragrant, 2–6 inches across, also floating on the water. Flowers arise on separate stalks, have brilliant white petals (25 or more per flower) with yellow centers. The flowers may float or stick above the water and each opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon. Its seeds, which are produced in large quantities, are smooth and olive-green in color. There are 4 sepals and many rows of white petals, often more than 25, which are between3/4–4 inches long, thick, and pointed at the tip. There are more than 70 bright yellow stamens. The outer ones are large and petal-like; they become smaller toward the center. The quantity of blooms and pads varies per plant, but on average there are 1-2 flowers and 5-7 lily pads. The stomata, tiny openings on the leaf surface through which carbon dioxide and other gases pass into the plant, are on the upper, shiny leaf surface rather than on the lower surface as is the case for most dry-land plants. The leaf stalk, which is soft and spongy, has 4 main air channels for the movement of gases, especially oxygen, from the leaves to the large stems (rhizomes) buried in the muck, which are frequently eaten by muskrats. Though they can be ordered and planted almost anywhere, they are generally native to the northeastern United States, from Canada, south to northwest Maine, and west to northern Michigan and Minnesota and a few places in Washington and Idaho.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)