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Nymphoides indica


Nymphoides indica (L.) Kuntze

Family Name: Menyanthaceae
Synonyms: Limnanthemum indicum (L.) Griseb.
Common Name: Water Snowflake, Fringed Waterlily, False Indian Waterlily, Water Gentian, 金银莲花

Nymphoides indica (Water Snowflake) is a perennial aquatic plant. Its rhizomes grow in the soil underwater and long thin stems support round-shaped leaves that float on the water's surface. Its delicate, white star-shaped flowers have a yellow centre and are fringed with frilly hairs making these blooms reminiscent of snowflakes. Although the flowers last only for a day, they are quickly replaced by new ones.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 2 m


Native Distribution Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Pacific Islands
Native Habitat Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Cryptogenic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a perennial, freshwater aquatic, non-woody plant consisting of a horizontally growing underground stem (rhizome) from which many elongated runners arise. Each runner is up to 2 m long, and consists of alternate, shortly-stalked leaves, and flower clusters.
Foliage Its leaves have thickly fleshy leaf blades that float on water, are almost circular, 6–40 by 3–24 cm, with broad, heart-shaped bases, and smooth margins.
Flowers Its stalked flowers are faintly fragrant, and found in clusters of up to 3, each above the water. Its yellow-centered flowers have spreading lobes that are covered with long, white hair above.
Fruit Its fruits are ellipsoid, 6.8–8 by 3–5 mm, and contain many lens-shaped seeds. Its round seeds are smooth, pale brown and 1.3 mm wide.
Habitat It grows in shallow, stagnant water, pools, flooded rice fields, and margins of lakes, up to 1900 m altitude. 
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed, or by planting rooted shoots that develop near the insertion of the flowers at the tip of the flower-bearing stem.
Etymology Latin Nymphoides, resembling Nymphaea (water lily) species; Latin indica, of India but also applies to plants originating throughout the East Indies, referring to one locality in the natural distribution of this species

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It has attractive, large-, white- or yellow-flowered cultivars. It is a good native substitute for the non-native water-lily (Nymphaea species and hybrids). It may be suitable as a marsh plant for the edges or deeper parts of ponds.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Rootzone Tolerance Waterlogged Soils (Does not Drain Site), Easy to Grow
Propagation Method Seed, Division, Aerial Plantlet


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obcordate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Radial

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 978
Species ID 2272
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 07 March 2024.