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Waterlily Leaves

The Beauty of Waterlily leaves

The Waterlily is named for its flower, but the beauty of the leaves lasts longer.
Lily blooms may only last 3 or 4 days and some tropical waterlilies only bloom at night. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see flowers during your visit to the Jewel Box ponds.

Many waterlilies do not reveal their full beauty to the casual observer. 
To appreciate them, we must look deeper… or, at least, below the surface. *gurgle*

Above and Below LEAF SURFACES

multi colored waterlily leaves

Leaves of many Colors

The dramatic color variation between the top and bottom of waterlily leaves is surprising to many. In this variety, the top surface of the leaves is a chartreuse green, while the lower is a crimson red with gold veins.

Did you know that spectacular color was lurking just below the surface of the water?

spotted and striated waterlily leaves

Artistic Patterns

Some waterlilies have interesting contrast between the “air” side and the “water” side of their leaves.

In this photo, we can see the vivid mottling (spots) on the underside of the leaf (left) compared to the streaked upper surface (right).

Is it any wonder that this plant is beloved by artists?

Similarities across Waterlily Leaves

giant Victorian waterlily pad
victorian waterlily underside

It’s fascinating to note similarities in waterlily leaves across species.

See the bright yellow-green above (left), and the magenta underside (right) of the large Victoria waterlily leaves? It even has contrasting ribbing, and spines! 


Victorian Waterlily plant system

Waterlilies, especially the Victorian Waterlily, are other-worldly. Their size alone is impressive. Their underwater systems are complex.

Some qualities are even threatening!

See if you can catch a glimpse of the spiny, ribbed edge of a Victorian Waterlily leaf.

Scary beautiful, isn’t it?

victoria waterlily spikes

To read about Waterlily adaptations, visit: