Common Water Lily

Also known as:
European White Water Lily
Eurasia, North Africa

General description

Floating aquatic herb. Rhizomes are stout and < 6 cm wide. Stems are spongy and < 3 m long. Leaves are round, leathery, < 30 cm in diameter with green/pink undersides and distinct midrib. Flowers are < 20 cm in diameter, white/pale pink with yellow centres and floating or held just above the water's surface. Hybrid flowers may be orange/pink/red/cream.

What you need to know

Although common water lily is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Still or slow-moving water bodies at depth of < 2 m, lakes, dams, ponds, ornamental pools.

Seeds dispersed by water and possibly animals. Vegetative spread from rhizomes and rhizome fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings.

Can alter habitat for aquatic plant and bird species and displace native submerged plants.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray emergent foliage with 300ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Mexican water lily
Nymphaea mexicana

Mexican water lily has vertical rhizomes whereas common water lily has horizontal ones.

Nymphoides geminata

Marshwort have thin stolons, unlike the thick spongy ones of common water lily. It also has a has a small five-petalled flower with feathery edges.

Search tags

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Common water lily - Main species image