Common name: waterpoppy
Synonyms and Other Names: Hydrocleis nymphoides Buchenau, Stratiotes nymphoides Humboldt & Bonpland ex Willdenow, Limnocharis humboldtii Richard, Vespuccia humboldtii Parlatore, Hydrocleys commersonii Richard.
Lirio de agua amarillo
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: As described in Godfrey & Wooten (1973):
Habit: perennial, emergent, aquatic forb
Roots/Stems: rhizomes root at nodes
Leaves: basal, alternate, petioles long, blades ovate to suborbicular, basally cordate and apically rounded, margins entire, upper surface glabrous, lower surface minutely hirsute, midrib spongy
Flowers: solitary, axillary, pedicels long, sepals 3, petals 3, yellow, obovate, 2-3 cm, stamens numerous, filaments purple (fertile), carpels 5-8 and free
Fruits/Seeds: follicles with several seeds
Look-a-likes: Limnocharis flava (L.) Buch. has flowers in umbels;
Size: up to 50 cm tall
Native Range: The Greater Antilles (Puerto Rico, Trinidad), Central America (Guatemala), and South America. Presumed extirpated or extinct in Puerto Rico (Axelrod 2011).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Puerto Rico &
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Hydrocleys nymphoides are found here.
Table last updated 9/26/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: As per the Missouri Botanical Garden (2018):
Life history: flowers June to August, lasting a day; spreads vegetatively when runners send out new roots
Habitat: lake margins and wet ditches
Tolerances: flowering occurs in water above 21°C (70°F)
Means of Introduction: Hydrocleys nymphoides is sold through the pond and aquarium trade and is not prohibited in the U.S. It is commonly cultivated and may escape captivity or be released from aquaria (Muenscher 1944, Godfrey and Wooten 1979).
Status: Unknown in non-indigenous range. Possibly failed or extirpated.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Axelrod, F.S. 2011. A systematic vademecum to the vascular plants of Puerto Rico. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Ft. Worth, TX.
Godfrey, R.K., and J.W. Wooten. 1979. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States, Monocotyledons. University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
Missouri Botanical Garden. 2018. Hydrocleys nymphoides - Plant Finder. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b812. Accessed on 09/12/2018.
Muenscher, W.C. 1944. Aquatic plants of the United States. Comstock Publishing Company, Inc/Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Revision Date: 6/29/2023
Pfingsten, I.A., 2023, Hydrocleys nymphoides (Willd.) Buchenau: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=1101, Revision Date: 6/29/2023, Access Date: 9/26/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.