New water lily found hiding in plain sight

New water lily found hiding in plain sight. Image: Royal Botanical Garden.

A new study of yellow water lilies growing in British ponds has thrown up some surprising results for an aquatic plants expert and scientists at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

Yellow water lilies at 23 sites across Britain, previously recorded as the non-native Nuphar Advena from North America have now been identified as a hybrid between the introduced Nuphar Advena and the native Nuphar Lutea.

As part of ongoing studies to clarify the status and identification of aquatic plants in Great Britain, fieldwork was carried out by Richard Lansdown, an aquatic plants expert from Stroud in Gloucestershire.

Richard explained: “At all the populations visited, the distribution of plants, as well as the anther and filament measurement, suggested that only a single Nuphar species was present.”

“It soon became clear that some populations recorded as Nuphar Advena had been misidentified, however, many populations included a taxon that was neither Nuphar Advena nor Nuphar Lutea but had a combination of traits characteristic of both, suggesting a previously undescribed hybrid between the two.’’

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Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.