I am intrigued, amazed and delighted at the wealth of flora in Western Ghats and I just cannot have enough of gaping or photographing them. Every nook and corner seems to be decked with a bouquet of brilliantly colored flowers nodding their approval of their habitat. The landscape at Sagar, Shimoga district is dotted with lakes covered with the most delightful variety of lilies.
Near Varadamoola was a lake with some lilies in bloom. I was astonished when I took a picture of what I thought was a white 1 to 1½ ” wide lily only to discover that the petals of the lily were very delicate and they had feathery edges. The local lady who was washing her clothes there smiled at my enthusiasm and said it is called as “Neeru thaavare” / Water Lotus.
Further research led me to the more apt name “Water Snowflake” with botanical name Nymphoides Indica belonging to family Menyanthaceae*. It is a water plant and flowers with 5 feathered petals dot the lake like floating snowflakes. The floating leaves are flat and round with yellow or white flowers.
The flowers emerge from the stems immediately under the leaves. The plant root is submerged and appears to be rooted at the base of the pond. Numerous species of Nymphoides grow in Australia, Africa, America, and Asia.
*Menyanthaceae is a family of aquatic and wetland plants. There are approximately 60-70 species in five genera distributed worldwide. The simple or compound leaves arise alternately from a creeping rhizome. In the submersed aquatic genus Nymphoides, leaves are floating and support a lax, umbellate or inflorescence.