Nuphar advena (Spatterdock)

Nuphar advena (Spatterdock) on 8-2-19, #609-36.

Spatterdock, Common Spatterdock, Erect Spatterdock, Yellow Pond-Lily

Nuphar advena

NOO-far  ad-VEEN-a

Synonyms of Nuphar advena (39) (Updated on 1-3-23 from Plants of the World Online): Castalia advena (Aiton) Conz. (2007)(incorrect basionym ref.), Nenuphar advena (Aiton) Link (1822), Nuphar advena var. cubana P.Ponce de León (1947), Nuphar advena var. erythraea (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931), Nuphar advena var. minor Morong (1886), Nuphar advena subsp. ozarkana (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Padgett (1999), Nuphar advena var. tomentosa Torr. & A.Gray (1838), Nuphar advena subsp. typica R.T.Clausen (1949)(not validly publ.), Nuphar chartacea (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931), Nuphar fluviatilis (R.M.Harper) Standl. (1931), Nuphar interfluitans Fernald (1942), Nuphar ludoviciana (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931), Nuphar lutea subsp. advena (Aiton) J.T.Kartesz & Gandhi (1989), Nuphar lutea subsp. macrophylla (Small) Beal (1956), Nuphar lutea subsp. ozarkana (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Beal (1956), Nuphar microcarpa (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931), Nuphar ovata (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931)(nom. illeg), then non Chandler (1925)(fossil name), Nuphar ozarkana (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931), Nuphar puberula (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) Standl. (1931), Nuphar puteorum Fernald (1950), Nuphar tomentosa Nutt. (1838), Nymphaea advena Aiton (1789), Nymphaea advena subsp. erythraea G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea advena var. macrophylla (Small) G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea advena subsp. macrophylla (Small) G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea arifolia Salisb. (1806), Nymphaea chartacea G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea fluviatilis R.M.Harper (1906), Nymphaea ludoviciana G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea macrophylla Small (1898), Nymphaea microcarpa G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea ovata G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea ozarkana G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphaea puberula G.S.Mill. & Standl. (1912), Nymphona advena (Aiton) Nieuwl. (1914), Nymphozanthus advena (Aiton) Fernald (1919), Nymphozanthus advena var. macrophyllus (Small) Fernald (1919), Nymphozanthus fluviatilis (R.M.Harper) Fernald (1919), Nymphozanthus ozarkanus (G.S.Mill. & Standl.) E.J.Palmer & Steyerm. (1935)

Nuphar advena (Aiton) W.T.Aiton is the accepted scientific name for Spatterdock. It was named and described as such by William Townsend Aiton in the second edition of Hortus Kewensis in 1811. It was first named and described as Nymphaea advena by William Aiton in the first edition of Hortus Kewensis in 1789. 

William Aiton was the father of William Townsend Aiton. W.T. Aiton also succeeded his father as the director of Kew Gardens in 1793 after his father’s death.

The genus, Nuphar Sm., was named and described as such by James Edward Smith in Florae Graecae Prodromus in 1809.

As of 1-3-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 14 species in the Nuphar genus. It is a member of the plant family Nymphaeaceae with 5 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Nuphar advena from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on April 18, 2021.

The above distribution map for Nuphar advena is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database is similar but includes a few more states. The USDA Plants database includes this species as Nuphar lutea subsp. advena. The species could have a broader range than what the maps show.

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.


Nuphar advena (Spatterdock) on 8-2-19, #609-37.

One day in the summer of 2019 I noticed something sticking up in the middle of the small pond in the front pasture. I went down to have a look and it was a cluster of Spatterdock. I have been back on the family farm since 2013 and this was the first I had seen it… We always had cows here on the farm, which were sold in 2019, so maybe they had been eating them.

I don’t know much about water plants yet, but information online says in the past Nuphar lutea and Nuphar lutea subsp. advena were thought to be “the species” found in North America. Testing and observation have shown there are actually 8 Nuphar species in North America. Many states, including Missouri, say the only species in the state has been determined to be Nuphar advena. Even though some maps may show a different story they may not exactly be accurate or up to date. So many times when there are a few species that are basically identical, they get identified incorrectly.

Nuphar advena is a native perennial aquatic wildflower that grows from stout rhizomes. They can be found in shallow water in ponds, lakes, coves, swamps, etc. as long as there isn’t a strong current. Some information online says they can grow in as little as 1-5” of water… In favorable conditions, they can spread quite aggressively to form large colonies.

Nuphar advena (Spatterdock) on 8-2-19, #609-38.

The above photo shows how a flower emerges a few inches above the water on a stout pedicle (flower stem).

Nuphar advena (Spatterdock) on 8-2-19, #609-39.

The leathery leaves grow from 6-12” long. Most of the leaves grow out of the water on long petioles (leaf stalks), but they can also lay along the water’s surface or even under the water (young or overwintering leaves).

Nuphar advena (Spatterdock) on 8-2-19, #609-40.

The leaves are kind of oval in outline, shaped kind of like an elongated heart with blunt tips. In technical terms, ovate, broadly elliptic-ovate, or cordate-ovate. There are two lobes at the base where the petioles join the leaves.

Nuphar advena (Spatterdock) flower. This photo was taken by iNaturalist member Sara Rall and submitted to iNaturalist on June 13 in 2017. Photo used by permission. The iNaturalist website is published on the internet at Photo retrieved on March 11, 2022.

My thanks to Sara Rall, a member of iNaturalist, for allowing me to use her photo of a Nuphar advena flower. Hers was by far the best I found of these weird flowers. When I get a chance, I will take my own photo and replace hers. That is if I can take one as good… Sara is very experienced and had submitted 135,962 observations to iNaturalist as of March 15 in 2022 when this page was last updated. She has been identifying plants for about 35 years.

Anyway, most descriptions I have read about the flowers are very lengthy and you can read them by going to some of the links below. I will give writing my own descriptions a shot…  

Globe-shaped buds emerge from the water on stout pedicels (flower stalks). Flowers normally have six sepals, three outer and three inner. The shape of the sepals are described as being elliptic to oblong-elliptic, broadly ovate, nearly circular, rounded to truncate, and concave. The outer sepals are originally green but turn yellowish, or even slightly reddish tinted toward the tip. The three inner sepals are much larger, yellow, but greenish or occasionally reddish tinged toward the base. The inner and outer surfaces can be similar in color or different… The inner sepals can be slightly notched at the tip or rounded. The sepals are concave and sort of cup around the pistil at flowering. The odd-looking structure in the center is the apex of the pistil which can have 8-24 stigmatic discs or rays. Surrounding the pistil are numerous weird-looking petals that are reduced to fairly thick, oblong, scale-like organs that are similar in size and shape to the stamens (in there somewhere). The flowers, never looking quite fully open, are up to 3” across. 

Various species of flies, bees, and beetles pollinate the flowers. The Missouri Plants website (see link below) says “the flowers are functionally pistillate on the first day when they open slightly to expose the stigmatic disc.” The flowers close in the evening, sometimes closing insects inside. When the flowers open more fully the next day, they are “functionally staminate…”

Nuphar advena starts flowering in May and continues into October. That gives me several months to wade out into the pond and have a closer look and take my own photos of the flowers.

After flowering comes the fruit, of course, that are kind of oval-shaped, green to reddish-tinged, ribbed, and taper toward the tip. The end of the fruit looks like someone stuck their finger in it… The fruit is multi-celled that gradually split open (irregularly dehiscent) to release 1/4” seeds.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and in other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.

I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.


NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


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