Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Big Floating-heart - Nymphoides aquatica   (Walter ex J.F. Gmelin) Kuntze
Members of Menyanthaceae:
Members of Nymphoides with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Menyanthaceae
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Author(Walter ex J.F. Gmelin) Kuntze
DistributionPresent over the southeastern portion of the Coastal Plain, from Pamlico County to the SC border. Widely scattered elsewhere in the province, including the Sandhills, and north to Halifax County. Specimens from Johnston county are actually N. cordata. The species does occur sparingly in eastern VA, and thus it should be found in other northeastern NC counties.

This is a Southeastern species, ranging from DE south to southern FL and west to eastern TX, strictly in the Coastal Plain.
AbundanceUncommon to locally fairly common in the southern coastal counties, especially in Brunswick County. Rare to locally uncommon farther inland to the Sandhills, and very rare in the northern half of the province.
HabitatThis aquatic species is found mostly in ponds and lakes -- limesink ponds, millponds, beaver ponds -- but occasionally in sluggish rivers or streams.
PhenologyBlooms from April into August, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is an aquatic, floating species, with rather small rounded leaves (at least in comparison with Nymphaea, Nelumbo, and Nuphar species). The above water portion of the plant contains a few rounded leaves, entirely green above, about 4 inches across in any direction, with a cordate base. The leaves and flowers are somewhat larger than in the similar N. cordata. Each species has only a few flowers, with 5 spreading petals, extending a few inches above the water surface; in this species, the flowers are white and have a spread of about 3/4-inch across. The underside of the leaf is purple. N. cordata has smaller leaves, about 2 inches across, and strongly mottled with purple and green above, and its flowers are only about 1/2-inch across. A few other species have somewhat similar leaves, such as Limnobium, but those leaves are not purple below, and it has three petals instead of five. This species is somewhat oddly local, as there are numerous lakes and ponds within the Coastal Plain that seemingly could have the species but do not.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Banana Floating-heart, Banana Lily. These names are used mainly in the aquatic plant trade.
State RankS3? [S3]
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieCroatan NF, July 1993. CarteretPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieWhispering Pines, Thagard Lake, July 2008.
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