Reproductive potential of yellow water-lily (Nuphar lutea) in the conditions of lake ecosystems

Keywords: morphology of fruits; seed productivity; buoyancy of fruits; seed; germination; initial stages of ontogenesis.


Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. (Nymphaeaceae Salisb.) belongs to the category of highly active cenose-forming plants in water bodies and water flows. The material for study of morphological peculiarities and seed productivity of the fruits of this species was collected mainly in the lake ecosystems of the Central Part of European Russia and Republic of Belarus. In the study we used biomorphological and ontogenetic approaches. Seed productivity was surveyed by direct count of number of seeds in the fruit. By abundance (in descending order), the significant reliable inter-lake differences in a number of morphological parameters of the fruit fall into the following sequence: number of rays of stigma of fruit (in six pairs of lakes) > length of fruit (in four pairs of lakes) > diameter of the stigma of fruit (in three pairs of lakes) > diameter of fruit (in two pairs of lakes) > length of the neck of the fruit (in one pair of lakes). Intra-regional differences in certain morphological parameters of fruits (by number of rays of stigmas) were most notably manifested only in the Belarus lakes which are similar by trophic status. All the differences in the fruits’ morphology could be due to differences in the habitat by the amount of nutrients in water and soil. The amount of seed productivity of the fruits from N. lutea varies broadly. Analysis of this parameter depending on the character of soils in which the plants grew indicated reliable results only in the case of muddy (296 ± 81) and sandy soils (179 ± 13). We determined that distribution of generative diasporas of N. lutea across large distances is related not only to presence of floating ability in the seeds, but also the “multi-step” process of their release: first – mericarps from fruits, and then seeds from mericarps. In the experimental conditions, most seeds directly sunk to the bed (70%) and the rest continued to float on the surface of the water during a month. Low germination of the seeds of the water-lily in the laboratory conditions (4–6%) with use of different means and terms of dry stratification was due to the fact that they have an organic morphophysiological intermediate type of rest. Having such a mechanism causes portioned and prolonged germination, allowing the species to survive in non-favourable conditions and accumulate generative diaspores in the soil. Despite the fact that the initial stages of ontogenesis in the laboratory and natural conditions have no significant differences, we found polyvariance in their tempo of development. First of all, this is related to different dates of transition of the plant from one age state to another. In the case of N. lutea, one should also note the morphological polyvariance of ontogenesis related to change in morphologic characteristics of plants depending on the water level. The obtained results give a more complete picture of the peculiarities of generative reproduction of N. lutea, necessary for understanding the ecosystem role of this plant and its impact on biological processes in water bodies.


Abizov, E. A., & Tolkachev, O. N. (2016). Ontogenez kubyshki zheltoy Nuphar lutea (L.) Smith (Nymphaeaceae Salisb.) [Ontogenesis of the Nuphar lutea (L.) Smith (Nymphaeaceae Salisb.)]. In: Netradicionnye prirodnye resursy, innovacionnye tekhnologii i produkty [Untraditional natural resources, innovation technologies and products], 24, 75–83 (in Russian).
Belyakov, E. A., & Lapirov, A. G. (2015). Fruit germination of some representatives of the family Sparganiaceae Rudolphi under laboratory conditions. Inland Water Biology, 8(1), 33–37.
Belyakov, E. A., & Lapirov, A. G. (2019). Seed productivity and peculiarities of floating of generative diaspores of some european species of the genus Sparganium L. Inland Water Biology, 12(2), S42–S48.
Bornette, G., & Puijalon, S. (2011). Response of aquatic plants to abiotic factors: A review. Aquatic Sciences, 73(1), 1–14.
Borysiak, A., Borysiak, J., Joniak, T., & Nagengast, B. (2011). Translocation of Nuphar lutea (L.) Sibth. & Sm. from the A2 road near Nowy Tomyśl (Poland) into alternative sites. Biodiversity: Research and Conservation, 21, 63–72.
Chernova, А. М. (2013). Sravnitel’nyy analiz reproduktivnoy sfery Nuphar lutea (L.) Smith v menyayushchihsya usloviyah sredy [Comparative analysis of the reproductive sphere of Nuphar lutea (L.) Smith in changing environmental conditions]. Vestnik Tverskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Seriya Biologiya i Ekologiya, 31(23), 123–132 (in Russian).
Chernova, А. М. (2015). Seasonal dynamics of yellow water lily Nuphur lutea (L.) Smith (Nymphaeaceae) in the small Il’d River (Yaroslavl oblast). Inland Water Biology, 8(2), 157–165.
Chernyak, D. M. (2018). A study of the seed productivity of Heracleum sosnowskyi Manden in the south of Primorsky Krai. International Research Journal, 74, 92–95.
Copenhaver, M. D., & Holland, B. (1988). Computation of the distribution of the maximum studentized range statistic with application to multiple significance testing of simple effects. Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, 30(1), 1–15.
Dubyna, D. V. (1982). Kuvshinkovye Ukrainy [Nymphaeaceae from Ukraine]. Naukova Dumka, Kiev (in Russian).
Dubyna, D. V., Stoyko, S. М., Sytnik, S. М., Tasenkevich, L. А., Shelyag-Sosonko, Y. R., Geyny, S., Groudova, Z., Gusak, S., Otygelova, G., & Erzhabkova, О. (1993). Makrofity – indikatory izmeneniy prirodnoy sredy [Macrophytes – indicators of changes of natural environment]. Naukova Dumka, Kiev (in Russian).
Elakovich, S. D., & Wooten, J. W. (1991). Allelopathic potential of Nuphar lutea (L.) Sibth. & Sm. (Nymphaeaceae). Journal of Chemical Ecology, 17, 707–714.
Fer, T., & Hroudova, Z. (2008). Detecting dispersal of Nuphar lutea in river corridors using microsatellite markers. Freshwater Biology, 53, 1409–1422.
Gurnell, A. M. (2014). Plants as river system engineers. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39(1), 4–25.
Hammer, Ø., Harper, D. A. T., & Ryan, P. D. (2001). PAST: Paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica, 4(1), 1–9.
Hart, K. H., & Cox, P. A. (1995). Dispersal ecology of Nuphar luteum (L.) Sibthorp & Smith: Abiotic seed dispersal mechanisms. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 119(1), 87–100.
Henriot, C. P., Cuenot, Q., Levrey, L-H., Loup, C., Chiarello, L., Masclaux, H., & Bornette, G. (2019). Relationships between key functional traits of the waterlily Nuphar lutea and wetland nutrient content. PeerJ – Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, 7, e7861.
Heslop-Harrison, Y. (1955). Nuphar Sm. Journal of Ecology, 43(1), 342–364.
Kaplan, D., Oron, T., & Gutman, M. (1998). Development of macrophytic vegetation in the Agmon wetland of Israel by spontaneous colonization and reintroduction. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 6(2–3), 143–150.
Klok, P. F., & van der Velde, G. (2017). Plant traits and environment: Floating leaf blade production and turnover of waterlilies. PeerJ – Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, 5, e3212.
Komarov, A. S., Palenova, M. M., & Smirnova, O. V. (2003). The concept of discrete description of plant ontogenesis and cellular automata models of plant populations. Ecological Modelling, 170, 427–439.
Kroker, V., & Barton, L. (1955). Fiziologiya semyan [Seed physiology]. Izdatelstvo Inostrannoy Literatury, Moscow (in Russian).
Lapirov, A. G. (2015). Ontogenez nazemnoy i pogruzhennoy form Alisma gramineum Lej. (Alismataceae) [Ontogeny of terrestrial and submerged forms Alisma gramineum Lej. (Alismataceae)]. Trudy Instituta Biologii Vnutrennih Vod Imeni I. D. Papanina Rossiyskoy Akademii Nauk, 71, 78–91.
Lebedeva, O. A., & Lapirov, A. G. (2013). O rasprostranenii nekotoryh vidov shelkovnikov (Ranunculaceae) v vodoemah i vodotokah Yaroslavskogo Povolzh’ya [On spread of some species of Batrachium (Ranunculaceae) in streams of the Volga Region in the Yaroslavl Region]. Yaroslavskiy Pedagogicheskiy Vestnik, 3(2), 55–60 (in Russian).
Lippok, B., & Renner, S. S. (1997). Pollination of Nuphar (Nymphaeaceae) in Europe: Flies and bees rather than Donacia beetles. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 207(3–4), 273–283.
Manohina, R. P. (1977). Vodnye rasteniya dlya oformleniya vodoemov v gorodah i poselkah Sredney Azii [Water plants for the design of reservoirs in cities and towns of Central Asia]. Stroitel’stvo i Arhitektura Uzbekistana, 2, 22–26 (in Russian).
Mjelde, M., Hellsten, S., & Ecke, F. (2013). A water level drawdown index for aquatic macrophytes in Nordic lakes. Hydrobiologia, 704(1), 141–151.
Nikolaeva, M. G., Lyanguzova, I. V., & Pozdova, L. M. (1999). Biologiya semyan [Biology of Seeds]. Nauchno-Issledovatel’skiy Institut Himii Sankt-Peterburgskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Saint-Petersburg (in Russian).
Nikolaeva, M. G., Razumova, M. V., & Gladkova, V. N. (1985). Spravochnik po prorashchivaniyu pokoyashchikhsya semyan [Handbook on Germination of Dormant Seeds]. Nauka, Leningrad (in Russian).
Notov, A. A., & Zhukova, L. A. (2019). The concept of ontogenesis polyvariance and modern evolutionary morphology. Biology Bulletin, 46(1), 47–55.
Padgett, D. J. (2007). A monograph of Nuphar (Nymphaeaceae). Rhodora, 109(937), 1–96.
Padgett, D. J., Horky, L. A., & Shimoda, M. (2002). Seed production and germination in endangered Nuphar (Nymphaeaceae) of Western Japan. Journal of Phytogeography and Taxonomy, 50, 35–40.
Padgett, D. J., Les, D. H., & Crow, G. E. (1999). Phylogenetic relationships in Nuphar (Nymphaeaceae): Evidence from morphology, chloroplast DNA, and nuclear ribosomal DNA. American Journal of Botany, 86(9), 1316–1324.
Pollux, B. J. A., Verbruggen, E., van Groenendael, J. M., & Ouborg, N. J. (2009). Intraspecific variation of seed floating ability in Sparganium emersum suggests a bimodal dispersal strategy. Aquatic Botany, 90(2), 199–203.
Richards, J. H., & Cao, C. (2012). Germination and early growth of Nymphaea odorata at different water depths. Aquatic Botany, 98, 12–19.
Sádlo, J., Chytrý, M., Pergl, J., & Pyšek, P. (2018). Plant dispersal strategies: A new classification based on the multiple dispersal modes of individual species. Preslia, 90, 1–22.
Savinykh, N. P., & Cheryomushkina, V. A. (2015). Biomorphology: Current status and prospects. Contemporary Problems of Ecology, 8(5), 541–549.
Schoelynck, J., Bal, K., Verschoren, V., Penning, E., Struyf, E., Bouma, T., Meire, D., Meire, P., & Temmerman, S. (2014). Different morphology of Nuphar lutea in two contrasting aquatic environments and its effect on ecosystem engineering. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39, 2100–2108.
Smits, A. J. M., Avesaath, P. H. V., & van der Velde, G. (1990). Germination requirements and seed banks of some nymphaeid macrophytes: Nymphaea alba L., Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. and Nymphoides peltata (Gmel.) O. Kuntze. Freshwater Biology, 24(2), 315–326.
Smits, A. J. M., de Lyon, M. J. H., van der Velde, G., Steentjes, P. L. M., & Roelofs, J. G. M. (1988). Distribution of three nymphaeid macrophytes (Nymphaea alba L., Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. and Nymphoides peltate (Gmel.) O. Kuntze) in relation to alkalinity and uptake of inorganic carbon. Aquatic Botany, 32, 45–62.
Smits, A. J. M., van Ruremonde, R., van der Velde, G. (1989). Seed dispersal of three nymphaeid macrophytes. Aquatic Botany, 35(2), 167–180.
Sütfeld, R., Petereit, F., & Nahrstedt, A. (1996). Resorcinol in exudates of Nuphar lutea. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 22(12), 2221–2231.
Szankowski, M., & Kłosowski, S. (1999). Habitat conditions of nymphaeid associations in Poland. Hydrobiologia, 415, 177–185.
Turdiev, S. Y. (1960). Nekotorye osobennosti prorastaniya semyan i formirovaniya prorostkov nimfeynyh [Some features of seed germination and formation of Nymphaeum seedlings]. Trudy Alma-Atinskogo Botanicheskogo Sada AN KazahSSR, 5, 164–178 (in Russian).
Tzvelev, N. N. (2000). Opredelitel’ sosudistykh rastenij Severo-Zapadnoj Rossii (Leningradskaya, Pskovskaya i Novgorodskaya oblasti) [Manual of the vascular plants of North-West Russia (Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod provinces)]. Saint-Petersburg State Chemical-Pharmaceutical Academy Press, Saint-Petersburg (in Russian).
Zbikowski, J., Kobak, J., & Zbikowska, E. (2010). Is Nuphar lutea (L.) Sm. a structuring factor for macrozoobenthos and selected abiotic parameters of water and bottom sediments throughout the year? Aquatic Ecology, 44(4), 709–721.