Yellow Pond Lily, Spatterdock (Nuphar polysepalum)


                                                                                                                        Gerald Carter


Range:  Alaska southwards to California, Rocky Mountains


Climate:  Low to middle elevations in moist, temperate regions


Local Occurrence:  locally abundant in slow, shallow water


Habitat Preferences:  Shallow ponds and lakes, extremely slow moving streams


Plant Strategy:  Aquatic perennial with huge, thick "prehistoric looking" rhizome.  Leaves and flowers float on surface.  Rhizome is medicinal, seeds were a food staple of various native groups.


Associated Species:  Cattail (Typha spp.), Wild Iris (Iris spp.),  Scirpus spp., Carex spp.


May Be Collected As:  Seeds, Rhizomes


Collection Guidelines:  Collect seeds late summer to early fall, rhizomes in spring.  Collecting seeds is easy enough from a canoe, but rhizomes may require diving underwater to successfully pry them from the substrate.


Seed Germination:  Stratify in cold water fro 2-6 months


Seed Life:  18 months is stored properly.


Seed Storage:  Store in cold water, drying or storing in room temperature water will result in minimal or unsuccessful germination.


Propagation:  Reproduction occurs both by seed and rhizomes.  Roots can be divided in spring when leaves first appear and transplanted to deep wet beds (preferably at least 2 ft. of water) or to site directly.


Soil/Medium Requirements:  Sand, mud with some organic material


Installation Form: Small plant with submersed leaves from one gallon pots; or the cheaper option - 8 to 12" length of rhizome (bare-root)


Planting Density:  5 ft. apart in at least 2 feet of water.


Care Requirements After Installation:  None


Lifespan/Growth Rate:  Very fast, with rapid spread, providing shelter and food for fish and wildlife.



Muenscher, W.C. 1936. Storage and germination of seeds of aquatic plants.  New York (Cornell University) Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 652, pp. 1-17.

Pojar J., McKinnon A.,1994 Plants of the Pacific Northwest, B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Publishing, Canada.

Schofield, J.J. 1989.  Discovering Wild Plants:  Alaska, Western Canada, The Northwest, Alaska Northwest Books, Portland.


Data Compiled by Shannon Kachel, Spring 2006