3. Nymphaea capensis Thunberg, Prodr. Pl. Cap. 2: 92. 1800.
Cape blue water-lily
Rhizomes unbranched, erect, ovoid; stolons absent. Leaves: petiole glabrous. Leaf blade abaxially suffused with maroon, adaxially green, ovate to orbiculate, to 35(-40) × 30 cm, margins sinuate to almost dentate; venation radiate and somewhat impressed centrally, without weblike pattern, principal veins mostly 20-25; surfaces glabrous. Flowers emersed, ca. 7-8 cm diam., opening and closing diurnally, only sepals and outermost petals in distinct whorls of 4; sepals green, shaded abaxially with reddish brown, margins purplish, evidently veined, lines of insertion on receptacle not prominent; petals 12-24, blue, lavender, or purple; stamens 100-200, colored as petals toward apex, outer with connective appendage projecting to 4-5 mm or more beyond anther; filaments widest above middle, shorter than anthers; pistil 15-31-locular, appendages at margin of stigmatic disk tapered, to 3 mm. Seeds ellipsoid, ca. 1.5 × 1 mm, ca. 1.4-1.8 times as long as broad, with longitudinal rows of hairlike papillae.
Flowering mid spring-summer. Sandy-bottomed ditches; 0-100 m; introduced; Fla; e Africa.
The Florida introductions probably represent Nymphaea capensis var. zanzibariensis (Caspary) Conard, which B. Verdcourt (1989), in combining African and Asian plants into a single species with several varieties, has recently treated as N . nouchali N. L. Burman var. zanzibariensis (Caspary) Verdcourt. His interpretation of the type of N . capensis , differing from that of previous workers, should be further studied. The traditional view is retained here.