Red and Blue Waterlily (Nymphaea nouchali)

Red and Blue Waterlily (Nymphaea nouchali syn. Nymphaea stellata) is a tropical species of aquatic flowering plant in the family Nymphaeaceae, native to the Indian Subcontinent. It has a wide distribution from southern Asia to northern Australia. It is also known as Blue star waterlily, Star lotus or shapla. It is the national flower of Bangladesh where is is commonly known as shapla. Red and blue water lily is usually grown for its spectacular flowers. It is also a popular aquarium plant where it is known as Dwarf lily or Dwarf red lily.

Red and blue waterlily is found in still or slow-moving aquatic habitat of little or moderate depth. It is a rather small waterlily with floating leaves, 25-40 cm across with a notch at the leaf stem, and spread 0.9-1.8 m. Part of the leaves are submerged, while others rise above the surface. The leaves have fringed edges, and are green at top and darker green at the underside.

The day-opening flowers, 10-15 cm diameter, are held at or above the water surface, and consist of 4-5 sepals, and 13-15 pointed petals which is usually violet blue with reddish edges. Some varieties have mauve, fuchsia, purple or white color. There is a distinct gap between petals and the bunch of yellow stamens. The flower has an angular appearance which gives it a star-shaped form when view from above.

Nymphaea nouchali has medicinal qualities as an antidiabetic and antihepatotoxic. The tubers and rhizomes can be used as a food items, usually boiled or roasted. The young and tender leaves and the flower peduncles are also eaten as food.

Red and blue water lily (Nymphaea nouchaliRed and blue water lily (Nymphaea nouchali)
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authorshipFlora Tang
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