The white water lily
The white water lily (Nymphaea alba L.), also known as White Lotus is an aquatic plant which is found in quiet freshwater habitats and ponds of temperate regions of Asia, North Africa and Europe. Despite being a perennial plant, its big floating leaves, which have a diameter of 10-30 cms, go dormant and decompose in winter. Lily leaves are ideal places for amphibians to rest or lie in wait and they also provide shade for fish. This is why there is usually an abundance of aquatic fauna in the habitat of the water lily. Its big white, cream or pink coloured flowers, which can be seen from May to October, open during the day and have bright yellow stamens. In al-Ándalus, “nilufar abyad” was used as an ornamental plant in ponds and also to make hydrating oils, and distilled water from this plant was sprinkled in the rooms in order to prevent dryness.