Nuphar Species, Southern Spatterdock, Yellow Cow Lily, Yellow Pond Lily

Nuphar lutea

Family: Nymphaeaceae (nim-fee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Nuphar (NOO-far) (Info)
Species: lutea (LOO-tee-uh) (Info)


Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chicago, Illinois

Mason, Michigan

Saint Helen, Michigan

West Branch, Michigan

Oxford, North Carolina

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 7, 2005, pinky100 from Mason, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

We have grown this water plant in our pond for over 6 years. I have had great luck with this plant. They seem to love moving water. We have ours placed by our fall. Our only problem with this plant is that it has outgrown our very large pots and I can not find any information on how to divide this plant without doing damage.


On Jun 10, 2003, addiston wrote:

Have twice tried to grow this plant but find that it 'rots' off before leaves reach the surface. I have tried both deep - 36" and shallow 6" locations. Further information on cultivation would be useful


On Aug 31, 2001, JJsgarden from Northern Piedmont, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Nuphar is a large, aquatic lily that is native to North America, Japan and Europe. It has large green, heart-shaped pads which either float or rise above the water. These plants usually obtain a spread of up to 8' and are mainly used in large water gardens. The rhizomes are large and the roots can grow many feet long.

The flowers, are rather small when compared to the pads and are yellow and cup-shaped. They rise above the water and look rather like small 'yellow balls' and appear only 'half-opened' when in full bloom.

Nuphar can become invasive in natural ponds and waterways.