Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Invasive Plant

Fragrant waterlily

Nymphaea odorata

About This Species

Fragrant waterlily (American white waterlily, Beaver root) is a popular, fragrant aquatic perennial that is native to Eastern North America. This aquatic plant is sold in garden and pond centers throughout the province and prized by gardeners for its classic “lily pad” look and large white or pink flowers. However, it has escaped from cultivation and established in some waterways in BC, its thick roots choking out native aquatic species, causing a risk to swimmers, impeding recreation, and restricting the movement of animals. It has the potential to spread and severely impact these sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Additionally, this species is extremely hardy and can overwinter in many regions of BC – do not be tempted to use this plant in your water gardens, no matter where you live in BC. 

How to Identify

Fragrant waterlily is an aquatic perennial plant with ‘lily pads’ that float on the water’s surface. 

Flowers are very showy, in white or pink, and fragrant. 

These leaves are round and glossy green and are connected to the underwater rhizomes by long, slender stems.  


Credit: R Routledge, Sault College,

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 Fragrant waterlily include:


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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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