Herb: Tuberous Water Lily

Latin name: Nymphaea tuberosa

Synonyms: Nymphaea odorata tuberosa

Family: Nymphaeaceae (Water-lily Family)

Medicinal use of Tuberous Water Lily:

The following notes are the medicinal uses of N. odorata. It is said that this species can be used interchangeably. The root is alterative, anodyne, antiseptic, astringent and demulcent. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of TB, chronic bronchial complaints, diarrhoea, dysentery, gastrointestinal inflammation, gonorrhoea, vaginal discharge, inflamed glands, mouth sores and to stop bleeding. A poultice made from the roots is used in the treatment of swellings, boils, tumours, inflamed skin, vaginitis etc. The roots are harvested in the autumn once the plant has died down, and are dried for later use. A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded.

Description of the plant:


July to


Habitat of the herb:

Pond margins and slow streams.

Edible parts of Tuberous Water Lily:

Seed - cooked. The seed can be ground into a powder and used as a flour or fried and used like popcorn. The root is rich in starch, oil and protein. The bitter tasting tuber is occasionally eaten. The bitterness can be reduced somewhat by leaching the root in water.

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 Tuberous Water Lily:

Pond margins and slow streams.

Known hazards of Nymphaea tuberosa:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.