Spadderdock a colorful flower found along Northwest Florida waterways

August 29, 2015

A damselfly perched on spadderdock flower. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
A damselfly perched on spadderdock flower. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Ever wonder what those yellow flowers are along our area creeks? It is called spadderdock (Nuphar luteum); common names cow lily, yellow pond lily. We see these aquatic flowers floating above the water line along Northwest Florida fresh water creeks and slow moving rivers. Typically, the flowers do not open entirely and appear as a ball shaped flower.

Throughout the summer months, spadderdock produces solitary, yellow flowers, 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The stalks of are attached to a type of underground stem with roots, called a rhizome. Rhizomes are buried deep in the mud underwater. Rhizomes can multiply and grow new rhizomes. This allows spadderdock to grow quickly and form huge colonies. The stalks connecting leaves and flowers to rhizomes can grow six feet long. In the fall, leaves and flowers turn brown quickly and die. The rhizome lives on in the mud.

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