Description from Flora of China
Nymphaea pubescens Willdenow, Sp. Pl. 2: 1154. 1799.
Rhizomes erect, producing slender stolons. Leaf blade ovate-elliptic to suborbicular, 15--26(--50) cm, papery, abaxially densely pubescent, peltate more than 5 mm from base of sinus, base deeply cordate and basal lobes subparallel, margin dentate and teeth acute to subspinose. Flower emergent, (2--)5--8(--15) cm in diam. Calyx insertion on receptacle circular; sepals oblong, 5--8 cm, conspicuously veined, caducous or decaying after anthesis. Petals 12--14(--30), white, red, or pink, oblong, 5--9 cm, transition to stamens abrupt. Filament of inner stamens only slightly wider than anther; connective apically unappendaged. Carpels completely united, walls between locules of ovary single. Stigma rays 12--15(--30); carpellary appendages linear. Fruit ovoid to subglobose, 3.5--5 cm. Seeds ellipsoid to globose, 1--2 mm, with longitudinal ridges. Fl. Aug--Oct. 2n = 84.
The relationship between the Asiatic Nymphaea lotus var. pubescens, often treated as N. pubescens, and the var. lotus of Africa is in need of further study. Cultivated forms of var. pubescens with red flowers, originating from India, are known from Guangdong Province and perhaps elsewhere in S China. Although they are reportedly sterile, they have sometimes been segregated as N. rubra Roxburgh ex Andrews.
Ponds in hills. S and SW Yunnan [Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam].