Plant Family Identification - N


(Applies only to those plant families identified within the Wildflowers of Escambia site. When the page has loaded, scroll down to find the general plant family description you seek.)

Nelumbonaceae (Lotus-Lily) - Plants are perennial herbs, aquatic, and rhizomatous with adventurous roots. Air chambers are conspicuous in vegetative portions of the plant. The rhizomes are branched, repent, slender, terminal portions becoming tuberous-thickened late in the growing season.

Water Lotus
Nelumbo lutea

The leaves arise directly from the rhizome, alternate on the stem, long stalks, floating or emersed. The leaf blade is peltate, or orbiculate. The leaf margins are entire.

The flowers are axillary, and solitary. Each flower is bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form; borne above the water surface; the peduncle is long; the involucre is not present. The perianth is not persistent in fruit. There are numerous tepals (petals and sepals that are similar and not easily discernible) that are distinct, the outermost is reduced. The inner tepals become larger and more like petals at maturity. Stamens are numerous; filaments slender; anthers separate by longitudinal slits. The connective appendage is incurved. There will be numerous pistils; one-carpellate that is separately embedded in a flattened receptacle. The ovary is one-locular. The stigma is nearly sessile.

Fruit is nut-like; one seed.

There are two known species and one genera in temperate and tropical regions. The plants are pollinated by insects, often by beetles. Formerly these plants were included in the family Nymphaeaceae.

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Nyctaginaceae (Four-O'clock) - Plants are herbs. In the tropics, however, the plant is often a tree or shrub.

Four O'Clock
Mirabilis jalapa

The leaves are mostly opposite and entire (no teeth and no lobes). Stems are tumid at the joints.

A tubular (funnel-shaped) calyx is colored like the corolla. Its persistent base is constricted above the one-locular, one-seeded ovary and indurated into a nut-like pericarp, with broad foliaceous. Often the calyx is mistaken for the corolla. The cup-like involucre of the flower exactly imitates a calyx.

Fruit is nut-like.

Members of this family may also be called Umbrella-wort.

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Nymphaeaceae (Water Lily) - Plants are perennial aquatic herbs, usually with floating orbicular or heart-shaped leaf blades, and large flowers either floating or held above the water surface on long stalks.

Fragrant Water Lily
Nymphaea odorata

The leaves are simple (no teeth and no lobes), with very long stalks.

The flowers are radially symmetrical in form. There will be three to many sepals, often intergrading into many petals. Stamens are three to many. Pistils number three to numerous, sometimes held together in a common fleshy base.

Fruit may form a small nut, or each pistil may open on one side, or all may be grown together as a leathery berry.

Worldwide there are nearly 70 species and seven genera in aquatic habitats throughout temperate and tropical regions. Several species are cultivated as ornamental garden plants.

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