Banana Lily, Floating Heart

Nymphoides aquatica

Description


Banana lily is a perennial plant with leaves that arise from “banana-shaped” rhizomes on the long slender petioles. The floating leaves are 2 to 6 inches in diameter, kidney to heart-shaped, yellowish-green above and reddish-purple underneath, with obvious veins. Flowers are small, white, in clusters on short stalks that rise above the water’s surface. The fruits are capsule-like and contain many seeds. Late in the growing season clusters of fleshy, tuber-like roots form below the flowers.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. The banana lily has no known direct food value to wildlife.