Page:British Flowering Plants.djvu/48

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stem divides into a thick leaf-stalk and a slender flower-stalk. The leaves are thin, stiff, drooping, and heart-shaped; they are green above, and whitish green beneath. They are entire, but the borders are set with slender prickles. The flowers are attached to a slightly branching panicle, and at the base of each fork is a small oval leaf-scale. They have 4 sepals, petals, and stamens. The petals are oval, obtuse, concave, and blood-red; the exterior of the flower is yellow. The flowers appear in April and May.

Order III. Nymphæacece (2 genera)

In the Water-lilies the calyx is composed of from 4 to 6 sepals. The corolla has numerous petals, gradually passing into the stamens, which, as well as the carpels, are also numerous. The plants are rooted at the bottom of the water; the broad leaves float on the surface, and the buds, when fully developed, also rise and expand on the surface. Three species only, one white and two yellow, are found in Britain, and are not un-common in ponds and backwaters in most parts of our islands. Many of the tropical species are blue or red, some of them, as the South American Victoria regia, attaining a very large size, the leaves being 3 or 4 feet in diameter.

White Water-lily—Nymphaea alba

(Plate VII)

The White Water-lily, with its snow-white flowers with a yellow centre, is the largest and most beautiful of our water-flowers, flowering in June and July, and often measuring four inches in diameter, and the leaves twice as much. It varies, however, considerably in size. The leaves float on the surface of the water, and the flowers, which are scentless, expand in the morning and close in the evening. The sepals are white above and green below. The inner petals are smaller than the outer ones. The stigmas are yellow, and the outer ones are broader below than the inner, and are, like the petals and carpels, attached to a disk called the receptacle. The carpels form a