Water poppy

Water poppy

Hydrocleys nymphoides

Common Name:

Water poppy

Scientific Name:

Hydrocleys nymphoides

Alternative common names:


Water poppy is a floating aquatic plant with heart-shaped leaves and delicate light-yellow flowers with three-petals. This tropical American plant can compete with indigenous water lilies and large infestations can block out sunlight to the detriment of other aquatic organisms.  

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Tropical America.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?


Where in South Africa is it a problem?

KwaZulu-Natal and the Vaal River.

How does it spread?

Spreads via rhizomes and rooting stems and transported along rivers, especially during flooding.

Why is it a problem?

Water poppy has a tendency to block waterways which causes disturbance of recreational activities. Reduces sunlight for other aquatic plants.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Heart-shaped, thick rounded at the base and taper towards the tip, shiny and dark green in colour.

Flowers: Light yellow with red and brown centres and stand above water.

Fruit/seeds: Seeds are small and horseshoe shaped.

Does the plant have any uses?

Garden pond ornamental.

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