Ottelia.JPG (55280 bytes)Ottelia ovalifolia: is a member of the Hydrocharitaceae family and is known as the Swamp Lily.
Ottelia ovalifolia is an aquatic, annual or perennial herb. The Swamp Lily has two types of leaves submerged and floating. The submerged leaves are juvenile and strap-like. The adult leaves float and are elliptical in shape. These floating leaves are dark green to bronze and rather shiny.
There are also two types of flowers: closed and open petalled. The closed flowers are known as cleistogamous. This means that they are self-pollinated and set seed. The open flowers are the most visible and are white with reddish or purple centres, three petalled and about five centimetres in diameter. Flowers emerge in the warmer months. Blooms appear regularly, during the flowering season, and last for less than a day.
Ottelia ovalifolia occurs in all mainland states and grows in slowly flowing fresh water or the still water of ponds, dams and lagoons. The Swamp Lily may form extensive colonies in nutrient-rich water.
The specimen illustrated is growing in our Small Dam. The plant appeared in 2005. We do not know where the plant came from but seed may have be carried in on the feathers or feet of water birds.
We have noticed that Ottelia ovalifolia plants appearing spontaneously in other local dams.
Propagate from seed, which germinates readily in mud and in warm, shallow water.