The lily pad
from Ducks Unlimited's Puddler magazine Summer 1999
Water lilies like these make wetlands beautiful each summer. Their large, scented flowers open every afternoon. Their wide, flat leaves, or pads, float gently on the water. These yellow water lilies are floating in a pond in South Carolina.
Water lily pads float on water, but a long, waving stem connects them to roots growing in the pond bottom. A lily's flowers are the most showy, but all its parts are put to good use by wetland creatures. In fact, animals may visit water lilies to snack, rest, hide or lay eggs all summer long.
Even after a water lily's stem and floating parts die each fall, it helps the pond stay healthy.
Let's take a closer look..