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Nuphar lutea ssp. polysepala (Rocky mountain pond lily)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Nuphar lutea ssp. polysepala

Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. ssp. polysepala (Engelm.) E.O. Beal

Rocky Mountain Pond Lily, Pond Lily

Nymphaeaceae (Water-Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Nuphar polysepala, Nymphaea polysepala, Nymphozanthus polysepalus


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

Pond-lily is a large-leaved, aquatic perennial with bright yellow, waxy blossoms from 3-5 in. in diameter. The leathery, round to oval leaves may be 4-12 in. long. They are usually floating but are sometimes partially or wholly submersed.

Native Americans ground the seeds for flour and also roasted them as popcorn. This aquatic plant (and some others, including rice) gives off alcohol instead of carbon dioxide as it takes in oxygen. This species is also known as Wakas.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AK , AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: AK to n. CA, e. to Alt. & CO
Native Habitat: Ponds; shallow lakes; sluggish streams

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Shallow water.


Use Wildlife: Excellent cover for trout and other fish. Ducks eat the seeds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2016-09-19
Research By: TWC Staff

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