Mosquito Fern, (Azolla caroliniana) is a tiny aquatic fern that grows very quickly, and can cover the surface of still water much the same as duckweed that it is often found growing with. The leaves of Azolla can be green or reddish in color. Azolla lives in a symbiotic relationship with a blue-green algea (Anabaena azollae) converts atmospheric nitrogen to a form that is usable by other plants. Counties in Southeast Asia use Azolla to fertilize their rice paddies.
White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata) is a member of the Water Lily Family, Nymphaeaceae. The leaves grow up to 10 inches across and my float on the surface are be submerged. The flowers are about 6 inches across and fragrant. They are usually held a few inches above the waters surface. The following photographs were taken at J. D. Murphree WMA, Port Arthur, Texas.
Big Floating Hearts (Nymphoides aquatica) is a member Buckbean Family (Menyanthaceae). Although it is not a "water lily" it exhibits a similar appearance, with it floating pads and raised flowers. Nymphoides aquatica has floating leaves that reach about 6 inches in length and clusters of small white flowers rising above the leaves. Photographs taken in various location of the LNVA Canal System in Jefferson County, Texas.
Both of the following plants belong to the Water Lily Family, Nymphaeaceae.
American Lotus ( Nelumbo lutea ) is the largest of the Texas Water Lily Family. The leave can be up to 2 feet across and the flowers can be 10 inches. The leaves are not split like "true" water lilies. They may grow on the waters surface, where they are flat, or rise several feet above the water, where they form a conical shape. The leaves are strong enough to support medium sized bird, such as the Purple Gallinule in the second photograph below. The photographs below were taken at J. D. Murphree WMA, Port Arthur, Texas.
Spatter Dock ( Nuphar advena) Nuphar is a confused genus. Many sources list this as Nuphar lutea, with many subspecies. Other sources consider the subspecies to be individual species. Spatter Dock has leave up to 16 inches that can be floating on the waters surface or submerged. The yellow flowers is about 1 to 2 inches and held above the water on a stiff stalk. The last photograph in the row below, was taken in the Sabine River, near the I-10 bridge. All other photographs were taken at J. D. Murphree WMA, in Port Arthur, Texas.
While hiking in a local wildlife management area, I came across a stand of American Lotus, (Nelumbo lutea). American Lotus is an emergent aquatic plant. It's rhizomes are buried in the mud of lake and marshes and slow moving streams. The leaves emerge from the rhizomes up to six feet, and may be floating on the surface or rising several feet above the water. This plant was used by Native Americans as a food source.
Video of a Purple Gallinule using American Lotus as a walkway.