Nymphaeaceae is a family of flowering plants, commonly called water lilies. They live as rhizomatous aquatic herbs in temperate and tropical climates around the world. The family contains five genera with about 70 known species. Water lilies are rooted in soil in bodies of water, with leaves and flowers floating on or emergent from the surface. Leaves are round, with a radial notch in Nymphaea and Nuphar, but fully circular in Victoria and Euryale. It is the national flower of Bangladesh.
Water lilies are a well-studied clade of plants because their large flowers with multiple unspecialized parts were initially considered representing the floral pattern of the earliest flowering plants, and later genetic studies confirmed their evolutionary position as basal angiosperms. Analyses of floral morphology and molecular characteristics and comparisons with a sister taxon, the family Cabombaceae, indicate, however, that the flowers of extant water lilies with the most floral parts are more derived than the genera with fewer floral parts.[clarification needed] Genera with more floral parts, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Victoria, have a beetle pollination syndrome, while genera with fewer parts are pollinated by flies or bees, or are self- or wind-pollinated. Thus, the large number of relatively unspecialized floral organs in the Nymphaeaceae is not an ancestral condition for the clade.
The white water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh and the state flower of Andhra Pradesh, India. The Emblem of Bangladesh contains a lily floating on water. The blue waterlily is the national flower of Sri Lanka. It is also the birth flower for Pisces. Lily pads, also known as Seeblätter, are a charge in Northern European heraldry, often colored red (gules), and appear on the flag of Friesland and the coat of arms of Denmark (in the latter case often replaced by red hearts). The water lily has a special place in Sangam literature and Tamil poetics, where it is considered symbolic of the grief of separation; it is considered to evoke imagery of the sunset, the seashore, and the shark. [Source]
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