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a genus of aquatic plants of the family Nymphaeaceae. They are perennial grasses with rhizomes and leathery, long-petioled, cordate leaves. The leaves have reddish undersides and float on the surface of the water. The flowers are solitary, large, and on long stalks; they generally have four green sepals and numerous petals of various colors. The fruit is globose, fleshy, with many seeds. There are more than 40 species distributed throughout the world; three species are found in the USSR. The European white water lily (Nymphaea alba) and the species N. Candida form clusters in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. The young rhizomes can be eaten after they are boiled or roasted. The pygmy water lily (N. tetragona), which has edible seeds and leaf buds, is less common. All three species are cultivated as ornamentals.