Spatterdock, cow lily

Nuphar advena -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Nuphar advena

(formerly Nuphar luteum)

Native to Florida


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    Spatterdock is a large plant whose leaves are often floating, however submersed and emersed leaves are common. Spatterdock commonly occurs in ponds, lakes and sluggish streams and blooms from spring to summer (Wunderlin, 2003).

    Spatterdock has large heart-shaped leaves, usually with wavy margins. Spatterdock floating leaves are attached to long, stout stems which arise from large, spongy rhizomes. Spatterdock submersed leaves are very thin, attached at the bottom rhizomes. Spatterdock flowers are yellow and "half-opened" at or above the water surface. Flowers are attached to thick round stems that are often six feet long.

    For many years southeastern (U.S.) flora have treated the genus Nuphar as a single species, Nuphar luteum, which was further divided into many subspecies. Recent studies, based on comparisons of morphological features and interpretations of molecular analysis, do not support the single species concept. In fact, results indicate the name Nuphar luteum should not be used for any North American Nuphar members. The genus Nuphar is now represented by eight distinct species in North America. A key to this new classification is provided in Chapter 12, Nymphaeacea by Wiersema and Hellquist, Vol 3, Flora of North America, 1997; and Volume 1, Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America, by G. Crow and B. Hellquist, 2000. The Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants lists Nuphar advena as the species occurring in Florida.

    Spatterdock may be confused with water lily, Nymphaea species. Compare the leaf shapes and flowers.

    For brief control information, see Efficacy of Herbicide Active Ingredients Against Aquatic Weeds by K. Langeland, M. Netherland, and W. Haller.