|Yellow waterlily, white waterlily and watershield can play important roles in aquatic ecosystems when managed properly.|
When you look out at your lake or pond, you may see some floating, broad-leaved plant species. The most common native species with floating leaves are yellow waterlily (Nuphar variegata), white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata) and watershield (Brasenia schreberi). Depending on region, waterlilies and watershield can be found inhabiting the shallow littoral zones of lakes and ponds, often covering the surface of these waterbodies with floating leaves and flowers. When managed properly, these species occupy an important ecological niche by creating habitat and providing food for aquatic organisms. However, several nuisance and invasive plants share physical characteristics with these beneficial species, making incorrect identification an easy—and potentially catastrophic—mistake. These nuisance and invasive plants rapidly out compete native species, can negatively impact the ecology of the aquatic habitats they invade and can drastically diminish the recreational and aesthetic value of your lake or pond.