Common name: American white water lily
Nymphaea odorata is native to North America. It has fragrant white (or sometimes pink) flowers, and its leaves have a waxy coating that repels water. Its flowers open during the day but close up at night. It grows in slow-moving fresh water. It is both edible and medicinal. Pond photo shows the yellow Nymphoides peltata in the background.
Water lilies are quite invasive in our water system and are usually removed annually. It takes several gardeners at least a week to clean up all the lakes. The plants are usually composted; in 2023, they were used as mulch in the Canadian Heritage Garden. Water lilies are considered an invasive species in parts of BC. More about the invasiveness of water lilies in a 2020 Garden Story.
Other Nymphaea in our lakes are various cultivars planted over the years, but they are difficult to identify.
Photos are by Kumi Sutcliffe.