Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Invasive Plant

European waterlily

Nymphaea alba

About This Species

European waterlily (European white waterlily) is an aquatic plant that can be found floating on the surface in slow-moving water such as lakes and ponds. It is native to Europe and Asia. What you cannot see is the masses of rhizomes attaching the lily to the bottom of the water body. This plant creates a swimming and recreational hazard by overtaking aquatic environments. This species also chokes out native species and has even been attributed to drownings. European waterlily has the capability to ruin some of our native aquatic habitats!  

How to Identify

European waterlily is an aesthetically pleasing plant found floating on slow-moving water sources with ‘lily pads.’ These are connected to the bottom of the water body by masses of rhizomes. 

Its flowers are large white (occasionally pink) with yellow centers that close at night. 

These leaves are up to 25 cm across, glossy, dark green, and round. 


Take Action

Prevention is the best approach.

Clean, Drain, Dry

Learn about best practices

The Clean Drain Dry program empowers you to help reduce the spread of invasive plants and organisms to BC waters by following the clean, drain, dry procedure on all watercraft and equipment.



Learn about best practices

A few non-invasive alternatives to plant instead of European waterlily include:


Use the app

Observe and report to protect BC’s biodiversity

Report through this website

Use our form to tell us what you’re seeing and where.



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