Nymphaea alba is our only native water lily with plain green foliage and white flowers. It’s not a prolific producer of flowers, but leaves are produced in profusion, which makes for rapid surface cover. Suitable only for larger ponds as it grows quite fast. 1 litre sized plants are young plants that are unlikely to flower in their first season. 3 litre sized plants are mature flowering size plants. For more detailed information please see Information/Water Lily Information.
It could be argued, and some do, that this is a plant that doesn’t really exist. The reason for this is that the true native plants were largely dug up by enthusiastic Victorians who were keen to cross it with all the new exciting species being found abroad to produce the coloured hybrids we recognise today. Rejects that looked like the original species were often replanted and only the best kept for sale. Hence, the N alba sold today are probably not genetically pure but an approximation of the original plant. This is also one of the reasons why I don’t necessarily recommend N alba even in wild plantings; if it isn’t truly pure you might as well choose a variety that is more suited to your eye and your pond and which will produce more flowers and less leaves, and won’t give you a hernia when it’s time to thin the beast.
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