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Nuphar lutea ssp. advena (Common spatterdock)
Smith, R.W.

Nuphar lutea ssp. advena

Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. ssp. advena (Aiton) Kartesz & Gandhi

Common Spatterdock, Spatterdock, Yellow Cow-lily, Cow-lily, Yellow Pond-lily, Brandy-bottle

Nymphaeaceae (Water-Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Nuphar advena, Nuphar advena ssp. ozarkana, Nuphar advena var. tomentosa, Nuphar fluviatilis, Nuphar lutea ssp. macrophylla, Nuphar lutea ssp. ozarkana, Nuphar microcarpa, Nuphar ovata, Nuphar ozarkana, Nuphar puteora, Nuphar ×interfluitans, Nymphaea advena, Nymphaea chartacea, Nymphaea fluviatilis, Nymphaea macrophylla, Nymphozanthus advena, Nymphozanthus ozarkanus


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Spatterdock plants grow in shallow water and are rooted in the mud. They have large leaves, 4-16 inches across, that are almost round except for the deep, narrow cut a third of the way to the center, where the stout stem is attached. The leaves of this coarse, rhizomatous aquatic perennial are quite variable and may be wide or rather narrow and submersed or floating; the petioles & peduncles have numerous minute air cavities. Flowers are 1-2 inches across and held above the water by their stout stems. They have 6 sepals, the outer 3 green, the inner 3 yellow and petal-like. The yellow petals are small, numerous, and stamen-like, mixed with the many stamens. The single, yellow, fleshy flower, with its prominent, lobed stigma is the best known feature. Yellow cow lily can grow in water up to 16 in. deep.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Aquatic plant, may grow in water up to 16 inches deep, with leaves and flowers held just a few inches above the surface of the water.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Native Distribution: Lab. to AK, s. to FL, TX & B.C.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Aquatic: yes
Cold Tolerant: yes


Use Ornamental: Yellow cow-lily's growth form is similar to a water lily with leaves and flowers that float on the waters' surface. Unusual globular flowers never look fully open, but are interesting. In winter, the foliage becomes lettuce-like and can be seen under water. Good for wetland gardens and habitat.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

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Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Nuphar lutea ssp. advena in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Nuphar lutea ssp. advena in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Nuphar lutea ssp. advena


Record Modified: 2023-02-20
Research By: RSB

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