The Water Lily

a beautiful sunlit water lily
a beautiful sunlit water lily | Source

The lovely white water lily,Nymphaea odorata, is a perennial aquatic plant which grows from a rhizome much the same way a spring flower grows from a bulb. The hardy water lily is native to North America. The thick glossy leaves which float on the water's surface can measure nearly a foot across, each with a slit that gives them a heart-shape appearance. The leaves form at the ends of thick, ropy stalks as do each individual flower buds. When fully bloomed, the blossoms are pure white perfection with golden stamens. They open each morning with the sun, attracting dragonflies, damselflies, and whirligig beetles which help to pollinate them. By late afternoon, the flowers will close up for a night of rest. http://www.xerces.org/dragonfly-migration/

parts of a water lily, including the rhizome at bottom
parts of a water lily, including the rhizome at bottom | Source


After moonlit sleep

Upon a shadowy pond

A pointed bud unfolds

On pads of glossy green.

From a slimy rope-like stem

In the murky darkness beneath

Emerges a bloom of the purest white

With a radiance to please the Sun

Which her glowing beauty reflects.


Catherine Tally 2013

All rights reserved.

_____________________________

The blue water lily Nymphaea Caerulea was referred to as the "Blue Lotus" in ancient Egypt and has much symbolism in mythology.

Nefertum, the god of healing, was believed to have emerged from the" Blue Lotus" and offered it to Ra, the sun god. He is depicted with the lotus on his head.


In Egyptian mythology, the blue water lily, erroneously called "Blue Lotus" is the symbol for Upper Egypt while the papyrus bloom, Cyperus papyrus, represents Lower Egypt. Intertwined, they represent Egyptian unification. The beautiful blue lily, Nymphae caerulea, is associated with the god Nefertum who is believed to have risen from the primordial waters of chaos within its perfumed bloom. The opening of its flower at dawn and its disappearance at dusk makes it a symbol of both the sun god, Ra and rebirth. The lotus motif is often seen in murals, in architecture, and among items in the tombs of royalty. The lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, although related to the water lily, is a different species native to Asia and was introduced to the region by the Romans. Both the "Blue Lotus" and the "White Lotus" which blooms by moonlight, are water lilies native to Egypt. These varieties have larger leaves than those from North American, many reaching 20" across. The actual lotus bears blooms which stand quite tall, and, unlike the water lily, keeps all seed parts above water until the floating seed pod becomes woody. Similar in its bloom cycle, the lotus holds important symbolism for both the Buddhists and the Hindus. The opening of the flower bud signifies enlightenment, the perfect bloom represents purity, and the cycle of bloom is symbolic of resurrection and rebirth.


Frogs and water turtles find protection from predators among the masses of pads and stems, and are sometimes found basking atop the leaves. If one looks carefully, he may spot the patterned flanks of koi or the quick movement of a water snake in search of food.

Besides providing a beautiful display and shelter, lily pads block sunlight from the pond depths preventing algae bloom. This naturally protects fish from a lack of oxygen. Leaves also serve to convert the ammonia from fish waste into beneficial nutrients for the plants. In the fall as the leaves decompose, the detritus that results from the organic breakdown becomes a significant food source for aquatic invertebrates. This, in turn, provides sustenance for the amphibians, fish, waterfowl, and small mammals higher up in the food chain.


Water lilies which are at the peak of display during the summer months begin to yellow and decline in September and October as they prepare for dormancy. The rhizomes will store energy over the winter months for renewed growth in spring when the pond surfaces begin to warm again. Invasive by nature, water lilies are best submerged within solid containers to prevent spreading. It's always a good idea to check the invasive plant list for the state in which you live and take note of any warnings or restrictions.



© 2013 Catherine Tally

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Comments 37 comments

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Beautiful and well crafted. Thank you


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Martin. Good to see you :)


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Water-lilies are so lovely - and so is your poem.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Blossom,

Thank you for your sweet comment. I appreciate your stopping by!

Cat:)


Sueswan 3 years ago

Pure and beautiful just like the Lily.

Voted up and beautiful and sharing


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Sueswan,

Thank you for such a lovely compliment! I hope all is well with you.

My best,

Cat:)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia

Lovely, lovely poem. Do you live near a pond or some body of water that has water lilies? they have a certain fascination as they sit so serenely on the water.

Enjoyed your poem of tribute.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Cyndi10,

Thank you! I'm so glad you dropped by to read and comment! I appreciate your kind words. There is a beautiful botanical garden nearby which has the ponds where the beautiful lilies grow . Many of my photographs were taken there including the one featured with this hub. It is so relaxing to sit in the warmth there among those perfect blooms with the frogs, turtles, bees, and dragonflies. :)


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 3 years ago

I Love "Water Lilies" Cat, and your Beautiful Poem captured them well.

Voted UP & Beautiful too!


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

It certainly does reflect the beauty of the sun! Beautiful poem!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello b Malin,

Nice to see you here! Thank you for the sweet comment and the vote UP. I really appreciate it.

Cat:)


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you for the lovely comment, xstatic. I'm glad you dropped by.

My best,

Cat:)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

The contradiction of nature…from the slimy rope-like stem in murky darkness buds the flower that bursts open with pure white radiance in the Sun. We can learn so much from nature. Beautiful poem! :-)


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi Genna,

I couldn't agree more! I think most things in life involve contradiction of some form. I always enjoy your comments and wish you well. I hope you enjoy a beautiful Spring!

Thank you for dropping by.

Cat:)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Just lovely and a fitting tribute to a blossom which proves the possibility of beauty emerging from the depths of murkiness!

Fits the moment, too, with Easter just having begun.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Nellieanna,

I'm delighted that you dropped by ! Yes, beauty can come from unexpected places and circumstances. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Best wishes for a happy Easter and a glorious Spring.

Cat :)


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

xstatic,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving the kind comment. It's a pleasure to see you!

Cat :)


KrisL profile image

KrisL 3 years ago from S. Florida

I like the water lily as an Easter symbol, although I don't think it's traditional. It is a traditional Buddhist symbol . . . one kind of water lily, the lotus, represents Awakening arising from the mud of suffering and illusion.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hi KrisL,

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with the symbolism of the lotus and see the water lily in the same light. Lilium longifolium, the white trumpet lily, is the flower we commonly associate w/ Easter although most flowers which herald the arrival of Spring are included in our celebrations.

My best to you,

Cat :)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Such beautiful writing!


Joanne M Olivieri 3 years ago

Sweet, serene and peaceful in it's beauty. Well done and voted up!


jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

A flower worthy of painting or poetry. Well done. Jamie


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Audrey, Thank you for your encouraging comment. I appreciate your visits, always.

Wishing you a lovely Spring season,

Cat :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

What a beautiful capture! Loved this poem. Voted up and beautiful.

Short and sweet, and I don't care WHAT "the Google" says...short CAN be worthwhile!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Joanne,

Thank you for stopping by to read and for leaving such a sweet comment. :)


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Jamie,

Some flowers are so perfect, it's hard to believe they are real! The water lily is one of those. This photograph was taken at a nearby botanical gardens and has a painterly quality w/o the aid of retouch or enhancement. I am so glad that you enjoyed the accompanying poem too. Thanks for commenting! :)


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 3 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello DzyMsLizzy!

Glad you enjoyed the "short and sweet!" I agree that good writing is about content and not length. I dislike excess verbiage and worthless filler too. I thank you for you kind comments and the "thumb's up" on voting. I always enjoy seeing your visits here!

My best to you,

Cat :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

wow such a gentle poem, pure, soft..another thumbs up


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

A beautiful compliment. . Thank you, Frank :)


Marsei profile image

Marsei 2 years ago from New Orleans

Cat,

I especially like the poem. It's a testament to the fact that quantity is not necessarily quality. Thanks for this hub. I'm sharing it.

marsei


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Marsei,

I appreciate your kind comments and find your sharing my poem to be a top compliment. Thank you!!

Cat :)


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

A beautiful poem for a beautiful flower! Loved it!!


Pawpawwrites profile image

Pawpawwrites 2 years ago from Kansas

I love them. I was at a botanical garden a few years ago, and they had some beautiful colored varieties.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Vellur,

Thank you so much!!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles Author

Hello Pawpawwrites. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Water lilies are so perfect in bloom that they look unreal! I think the colors are stunning and vibrant but still prefer the contrast of the pure white and the blush pink with the deep green pads. Thanks for stopping by!

cat :)


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 4 months ago from london

Informative article and gifted poem, cat. Excellent and exquisite!


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 months ago from Los Angeles Author

Thank you, Manatita- your thoughtful comments are much appreciated!

All the best, Cat:)

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