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For Your Garden - February 2016

Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

yellow pond lily (Nuphar advena)
Photo © Lance Merry

Yellow pond lily, also known as cow lily or spatterdock, grows in ponds and swamps throughout Illinois.  The leaves are dark green with a notch and are usually held above the water unless the water is very deep, in which case they may float on the surface of the water. Leaves can be as much as 12 inches long. Flowers are produced from May through August. The flowers are yellow and produced singly on a stalk. Each flower is spherical in shape and open at the top.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp. 

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Nymphaeales
Family: Nymphaeaceae

Illinois Status: common, native