Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Banana Water-lily - Nymphaea mexicana   Zuccarini
Members of Nymphaeaceae:
Members of Nymphaea with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 4 » Order Nymphaeales » Family Nymphaeaceae
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DistributionKnown from two old collections (both in 1949). These records are from Johnston and Perquimans counties, and thus the range in the state is the Coastal Plain. Note that this has generally been considered as a non-native species as far north as NC, but Weakley (2018) considers it perhaps native, as it does seem to have natural occurrences in 4 SC coastal counties, 1 coastal county in GA, and many FL counties. He speculates that it could be transported northward by waterfowl.

This species, despite its name, is native in the far Southeast, certainly across FL, and apparently native coastally northward into eastern NC. Also in Mexico and southwest U.S.
AbundancePoorly known; recent sightings would be welcome! Because it has been considered likely not native, few people have bothered to collect or otherwise report the species in NC. Nonetheless, if it is native, but with no collections since 1949, the editors suggest a rank of SH (Historical), thinking that it could be re-found again. The NCNHP recently (2022) ranked it as SU (Undetermined) and with a W4 Watch List status. But, as the website editors consider it perhaps not native, the rank is here suggested as SE?.
HabitatThis is a species of still or sluggish waters, as is N. odorata. The NC specimens are from a "pool" and a "river" (Perquimans River).
PhenologyBlooms from June into September, and fruits in the same time period.
IdentificationThis species is generally smaller in all dimensions than is N. odorata, and it has light to medium yellow flowers, with rich yellow stamens in the center, instead of white to pale pink petals in the much more common species. The rounded leaf blades average about 5 inches long and roughly as wide, instead of often 8 inches or more in N. odorata. The fully expanded flower is only 3-4 inches across, instead of often 5-6 inches across in N. odorata.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Yellow Water-lily
State RankSU [SE?]
Global RankG3G4
State StatusW4
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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