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Toxic parts

There are a number of reports that the plant is edible but one report suggests that the plant is poisonous without giving further details[1].

Edible uses


Root - cooked[2][3][4][5][6]. An edible starch can be extracted from the root[6]. A possible emergency food[4]. The root has a bitter flavour - this bitterness can be removed by leaching the root in water[K].

Leaves and leaf stalks - cooked[2][5][6]. Seed - cooked[7]. It can be ground into a powder and used in making bread and porridge, or for thickening soups etc[8]. The seed can also be parched, when it swells considerably but does not burst like popcorn[6]. It is then normally eaten dry[8].

A refreshing drink is made from the flowers[2][6].

Unknown part


Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Nuphar lutea.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The roots are anaphrodisiac, anodyne, antiscrofulatic, astringent, cardiotonic, demulcent and sedative[9]. Caution should be exercised because large doses are potentially toxic[10].

A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of 'sexual irritability', blood diseases, chills etc[9][10]. The root is poulticed and applied to swellings, inflammations, cuts etc[9][10]. The root contains steroids and is a folk remedy for infertility[10].

Alkaloids in the root are reportedly hypotensive, antispasmodic, cardiac, tonic and vasoconstrictor[10].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse in pots submerged under 25mm of water. Prick out into individual pots as soon as the first true leaf appears and grow them on in water in a greenhouse for at least two years before planting them out in late spring.

The seed is collected by wrapping the developing seed head in a muslin bag to avoid the seed being lost. Harvest it 10 days after it sinks below the soil surface or as soon as it reappears[11].

Division in May. Each portion must have at least one eye. Submerge in pots in shallow water until established[12].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Nuphar lutea. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


A water plant requiring a rich soil and a sunny position[13][12]. Succeeds in light shade[11]. It is best grown in still water up to 250cm deep but it also tolerates slow moving water[11]. Prefers shallow water[13].

Plants are hardy to about -20°c[14].

The flowers have a sickly scent[15]. The flowers have a brandy-like scent[16]. This unique smell is due to a combination of acetic acid and ethyl alcohol to form ethylacetate[16].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Nuphar lutea. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Nuphar lutea.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Nuphar lutea
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Unknown part (Drink)
  • Leaves (Unknown use)
  • Root (Unknown use)
  • Seed (Unknown use)
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Anaphrodisiac)
  • Unknown part (Anodyne)
  • Unknown part (Antiscrophulatic)
  • Unknown part (Antispasmodic)
  • Unknown part (Astringent)
  • Unknown part (Cardiotonic)
  • Unknown part (Demulcent)
  • Unknown part (Hypotensive)
  • Unknown part (Sedative)
  • Unknown part (Vasoconstrictor)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    2. ? Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    8. ? Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
    9. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    10. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Muhlberg. H. Complete Guide to Water Plants. E. P. Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7158-0789-7 (1982-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    14. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    15. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    17. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-17

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