Yellow Water Lily - Nuphar lutea Yellow Water Lily - Nuphar lutea

Herb: Yellow Water Lily

Latin name: Nuphar lutea

Synonyms: Nymphaea lutea

Family: Nymphaeaceae (Water-lily Family)

Medicinal use of Yellow Water Lily:

The roots are anaphrodisiac, anodyne, antiscrofulatic, astringent, cardiotonic, demulcent and sedative. Caution should be exercised because large doses are potentially toxic. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of "sexual irritability", blood diseases, chills etc. The root is poulticed and applied to swellings, inflammations, cuts etc. The root contains steroids and is a folk remedy for infertility. Alkaloids in the root are reportedly hypotensive, antispasmodic, cardiac, tonic and vasoconstrictor.

Description of the plant:


June to


Habitat of the herb:

Deep, slow moving or still water to a depth of 3metres.

Edible parts of Yellow Water Lily:

Root - cooked. An edible starch can be extracted from the root. A possible emergency food. The root has a bitter flavour - this bitterness can be removed by leaching the root in water. Leaves and leaf stalks - cooked. Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a powder and used in making bread and porridge, or for thickening soups etc. The seed can also be parched, when it swells considerably but does not burst like popcorn. It is then normally eaten dry. A refreshing drink is made from the flowers.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse in pots submerged under 25mm of water. Prick out into individual pots as soon as the first true leaf appears and grow them on in water in a greenhouse for at least two years before planting them out in late spring. The seed is collected by wrapping the developing seed head in a muslin bag to avoid the seed being lost. Harvest it 10 days after it sinks below the soil surface or as soon as it reappears. Division in May. Each portion must have at least one eye. Submerge in pots in shallow water until established.

Cultivation of Yellow Water Lily:

Deep, slow moving or still water to a depth of 3metres.

Known hazards of Nuphar lutea:

There are a number of reports that the plant is edible but one report suggests that the plant is poisonous without giving further details.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.