31-05-2021, 22:27
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Nymphaea Rubra

Nymphaea rubra or red water lily grows naturally in the water bodies of Bangladesh and India. The plant can be found in lakes, ponds and marshes at a depth of 0.2-1 m. The plant is easy to keep and can be recommended for novice aquarists.

The plant's name comes from the Latin "nymphaea", a deity that lived in forests, seas, rivers and lakes in Latin mythology, and "rubra" means the red colour of its flowers.

Nymphaea rubra is a freshwater perennial herbaceous plant with an erect rhizome rooted in bottom sediments and forming thin stolons. The plant has single leaves at the end of a stout pubescent petiole about 1.5 cm in diameter, crossed in the centre by 6-7 main canals, surrounded by other smaller canals where air is present, making the leaves float on the water surface, and through these canals gas exchange occurs between the leaves and the roots.

Nymphaea rubra

Leaves are scale-like, with the petiole almost in the centre of the lamina), ovate, slightly wavy toothed edges, 20-40 cm in diameter, smooth, water-repellent from above. Young leaves are dark red, becoming olive green as they grow. The underside of the leaf plate is pubescent. The underwater leaves are heart-shaped or arrow-shaped, reddish in colour.

Under suitable conditions, the red water lily may flower. Flowers are about 15 cm in diameter, solitary, above the water surface, arranged on a flower stalk, also provided with channels where air is present, with 4 oblong-lanceolate tepals with obtuse apexes in deep red. The 16-28 petals are elliptic to oblong, 4-6 cm long, purplish-red. The flowers, emitting a subtle scent, open at night and close in the morning for four consecutive nights. When the flowering ends, the flower stalk spirals around itself, causing the fruit to drop to the bottom, where it completes its maturation.

Fruits are globular, greenish-brown berries, 4-6 cm in diameter, containing numerous blackish ellipsoidal or globular seeds, 1.8 mm long, with a spongy coating. The fruits initially float to the surface of the water due to the presence of air in the shell, which helps them disperse until it decomposes, becomes saturated with water and thus sinks to the bottom.

Nymphaea rubra

Water parameters: temperature 20-30° C, hardness 1-10° C, pH 5.5-8.0. It should be noted that the plant will only bloom if the water temperature is above 24°C.


Nymphaea rubra is propagated by seed and division. In order to flower, it requires intermittent sunlight, still or slightly mobile water with a pH of 6.0-8.0 and a temperature of about 30° C, a nutrient-rich substrate consisting of a mixture of garden soil, manure and gravel as a top layer. It is a species that is cultivated in subtropical and tropical climates where it flowers almost continuously and, to some extent, in moderately warm climates. Under other conditions, the plant can be kept from autumn to spring in sheltered conditions at 18-20° C.

Nymphaea rubra is very highly valued among aquarists for its water-immersed, decorative leaves, which the plant permanently forms in bright light.

Nymphaea rubra

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