Okefenokee Plant Life: the White Water Lily

When one says, “swamp”, one of the first images related to the flora and vegetation of the habitat is, of course, the towering Cypress trees and flowing curtains of Spanish Moss. On my forth trip to the majestic Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, I spent some time to learn the other floral inhabitants of this beautiful ecosystem.

Okefenokee Swamp White Water Lily
American White Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata. Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Legally use this photo by downloading it at Dreamstime.

Second to the Cypress trees, the next most common image of swamp vegetation is that of the “lily pad”. Like shiny green dinner plates floating upon black water, the white Fragrant Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata abounds in the Okefenokee. These verdant saucers are garnished with large, white, sweet-scented flowers.

Not only is the White Water Lily a picturesque part of the swamp, but it is an important part of the ecosystem. Wildlife such as Deer, beaver, and muskrat will eat the leaves and rhizomes; while the seeds are consumed by various waterfowl. The underwater parts of the plant also provide food and habitat for invertebrates, which are also sustenance for reptiles, amphibians and avian life.

See more Okefenokee journals at www.williamwisephoto.com.

iNaturalist Observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/35934505

 

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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