White Water-lily

Nymphaea alba

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. White Water-lily


The White Water-lily is a common plant of still or slow-moving water and grows in ponds, lakes, canals and ditches. It has large 'lily pad' leaves, up to 30cm across, and grows in water up to 5 metres deep, with the leaves floating on the surface. It flowers during the summer from June to August, the blooms opening up in the sunshine.

How to identify

The White Water-lily has rounder leaves than the Yellow Water Lily, and a larger, white flower which is sometimes tinged with pink.

Where to find it

Grows throughout most of the country, although absent from northern Scotland and south-west England.

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: plant water-lilies and other natives in a wildlife-friendly pond and provide shelter for frogs and nectar for insects. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.

Species information

Common name
White Water-lily
Latin name
Nymphaea alba
Flower size: 15-20cm across
Conservation status