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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Classis: Unassigned
Ordo: Nymphaeales
Familiae (3): Cabombaceae - Nymphaeaceae - Hydatellaceae

Nymphaeales Salisb. ex Bercht. & J.Presl, Přiroz. Rostl.: 270. 1820 (“Nymphoideae”).

Barclayales Doweld, Prosyllabus Tracheoph.: xxiii. 2001
Cabombales Mart., Consp. Regn. Veg.: 38. 1835 (“Cabombeae”)
Euryalales H.L. Li, Amer. Midl. Nat. 54: 39. 1955
Hydatellales Reveal & Doweld, Novon 9: 551. 1999
Hydropeltidales Spenn., Handb. Angew. Bot. 1: 202. 1834 (""Hydropeltideae").

Primary references

Berchtold, F.v. & Presl, J.S. 1820. O Přirozenosti Rostlin, aneb Rostlinář, obsahugjcj: gednánj o žiwobytj rostlinném pro sebe a z ohledu giných žiwotů podlé stawu nyněgssjho znánj; k rozssjženj přirodnictwj; w potaženj na užitečnost w rolnictwj, hospodářstwj, řemeslech, uměnj i obchodu a w wztahowánj obzwlásstnjm na lekařstwj. 322 pp. + 2 pp. errata, Praha [Prague]: K. W. Enders. (Czech) Google Books HathiTrust. Reference page.
Reveal, J.L. & Doweld, A.B. 1999. Validation of some suprageneric names in Magnoliophyta. Novon 9(4): 549–553. BHL Reference page.
Doweld, A.B. 2001. Prosyllabus Tracheophytorum. Tentamen systematis plantarum vascularium (Tracheophyta) [Prosyllabus Tracheophytorum. Опыт системы сосудистых растений]. LXXX + 110 pp. Moscow: Geos. ISBN 5-89118-283-1. DJVU Reference page.

Additional references

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2003. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141(4): 399–436. DOI: 10.1046/j.1095-8339.2003.t01-1-00158.x Open access Reference page.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(2): 105–121. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x Open access Reference page.
Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards) Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 12, July 2012 [and more or less continuously updated since] Nymphaeales.
Saarela et al., 2007. Hydatellaceae identified as a new branch near the base of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree. Nature 446: 312–5.

Vernacular names
العربية: نيلوفريات
azərbaycanca: Suzanbağıçiçəklilər
беларуская: Гарлачыкакветныя
català: Nimfeals
čeština: Leknínotvaré
dansk: Nøkkerose-ordenen
Deutsch: Seerosenartige
eesti: Vesiroosilaadsed
فارسی: نیلوفرآبی‌سانان
français: Nymphéales
hrvatski: Lopočolike
magyar: Tündérrózsa-virágúak
日本語: スイレン目
한국어: 수련목
kurdî: Koma nîlûferan
lietuvių: Lūgniečiai
македонски: Воднолилјановидни
Nederlands: Waterlelie-achtigen
norsk: Nøkkeroseordenen
polski: Grzybieniowce
русский: Кувшинкоцветные, Нимфейные
slovenčina: Leknotvaré
svenska: Näckrosordningen
ไทย: อันดับบัวสาย, หมวดหมู่:บัว
українська: Лататтєцвіті
Tiếng Việt: Bộ Súng
中文(简体): 睡莲目
中文(繁體): 睡蓮目

The Nymphaeales are an order of flowering plants, consisting of three families of aquatic plants, the Hydatellaceae, the Cabombaceae, and the Nymphaeaceae (water lilies). It is one of the three orders of basal angiosperms, an early-diverging grade of flowering plants. At least 10 morphological characters unite the Nymphaeales.[2] One of the traits is the absence of a vascular cambium, which is required to produce both xylem (wood) and phloem, which therefore are missing.[3] Molecular synapomorphies are also known.

The Plant List, created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden recognizes about 70 species in 11 genera within the order,[4] but a phylogenetic study of the genus Nymphaea implies that the number of species could be more than 90.[5] The difference in species numbers is due almost entirely to the difficulty of delineating species in the genus Nymphaea.

All of the species are rhizomatous aquatic herbs with a broad leaf base and large, showy flowers.


The fossil record consists especially of seeds, but also pollen, stems, leaves, and flowers. It extends back to the Cretaceous.[6][7] The crown group of the Nymphaeales has been estimated to be about 112 million years old.[8] Some have suggested that this age might be too old.[9]

A basal member of Nymphaeales, Monetianthus, is known from Early Cretaceous Portugal.[10] A fossil member of the Nympheaceae is Jaguariba from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil. Several Cretaceous-age Cabombaceae genera are also known, including Scutifolium from Jordan, Pluricarpellatia from Brazil, and Brasenites from Kansas.[11] The fossil genus Notonuphar, thought to be a close relative of the modern Nuphar, is known from Eocene-aged sediments from Seymour Island, Antarctica.[12] The aquatic plant fossil Archaefructus from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China possibly also belongs to this group.[13]

The Nymphaeales currently include three families and about 70 to 90 species.

order Nymphaeales
  • Brasenia (one species)
  • Cabomba (five species)
  • Trithuria (12 species)
  • Barclaya (three or four species)
  • Euryale (one species)
  • Nuphar (10-12 species)
  • Nymphaea (35-50 species)
  • Victoria (two species)












The classification of Nymphaeales and phylogeny within the flowering plants, as of APG III (2009).

This order was not part of the APG II system's 2003 plant classification (unchanged from the APG system of 1998), which instead had a broadly circumscribed family Nymphaeaceae (including Cabombaceae) unplaced in any order. The APG III system did separate the Cabombaceae from the Nymphaeaceae and placed them in the order Nymphaeales together with the Hydatellaceae. The family Hydatellaceae was placed among the monocots in previous systems, but a 2007 study found that the family belongs to the Nymphaeales.[14] In the APG IV system, Hydatellaceae, Cabombaceae and Nymphaeaceae are the three families included in the Nymphaeales.[15]

Some earlier systems, such as Cronquist's system of 1981, often included the Ceratophyllaceae and Nelumbonaceae in the Nymphaeales. Although, the Takhtajan system of 1980 separated the Nelumbonales, the new order was retained alongside the Nymphaeales in the superorder Nymphaeanae.

The Cronquist system placed the Nymphaeales in subclass Magnoliidae, in class Magnoliopsida [=dicotyledons]. In addition, Cronquist included the Ceratophyllaceae and split the family Barclayaceae from the Nymphaeaceae. Under the APG II system, the family Cabombaceae was included within the Nymphaeaceae, but could optionally be recognized separately. As of APG III, the two families are recognized separately.

The Dahlgren system placed the Nymphaeales with the Piperales in superorder Nymphaeanae, within subclass Magnoliideae (dicotyledons). Thorne's 1992 system (and 2000 revision) placed the Nymphaeales as the sole order in the superorder Nymphaeanae within subclass Magnoliideae (=dicotyledons).

Comparison of the Nymphaeales across five systems
APG III system[1]
Takhtajan system[16]
Cronquist system[17]
Dahlgren system[18]
Thorne system (1992)[19] & (2000)[20]
Hydatellaceae among monocots, as Hydatellales
Cabombaceae Cabombaceae
Brasenia, Cabomba
Brasenia, Cabomba
Cabombaceae Cabombaceae
Brasenia, Cabomba
Nymphaeaceae Nymphaeaceae
subf. Barclayoideae, Euryaloideae, Nymphaeoideae
Nymphaeaceae Nymphaeaceae
Barclaya, Euryale, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Ondinea, Victoria
Euryale, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Ondinea, Victoria
sister to eudicot clade Ceratophyllaceae Ceratophyllaceae Ceratophyllaceae in Ranunculanae
in Proteales in Nelumbonales Nelumbonaceae in Magnolianae


Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x.
Peter F. Stevens. 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website At: Missouri Botanical Garden Website. (see External links below).
Water lily ( Nymphaea thermarum) genome reveals variable genomic signatures of ancient vascular cambium losses | bioRxiv
The Plant List (website). 2010. (See External links below.)
Borsch, Thomas; Löhne, Cornelia; Samba Mbaye, Mame; Wiersema, John H. (2011). "Towards a complete species tree of Nymphaea: shedding further light on subg. Brachyceras and its relationships to the Australian water-lilies". Telopea. 13 (1–2): 193–217. doi:10.7751/telopea20116014.
"Nymphaeales: Fossil Record". University of California Museum of Paleontology.
Else Marie Friis, Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen and Peter R. Crane (15 March 2001). "Fossil evidence of water lilies (Nymphaeales) in the Early Cretaceous". Nature. 410 (6826): 357–360. Bibcode:2001Natur.410..357F. doi:10.1038/35066557. PMID 11268209. S2CID 205014988.
Magallón, Susana; Castillo, Amanda (2009). "Angiosperm diversification through time". American Journal of Botany. 96 (1): 349–365. doi:10.3732/ajb.0800060. PMID 21628193.
Bell, Charles D.; Soltis, Douglas E.; Soltis, Pamela S. (2010). "The age and diversification of the angiosperms re-revisited". American Journal of Botany. 97 (8): 1296–1303. doi:10.3732/ajb.0900346. PMID 21616882. S2CID 207613985.
Friis, Else Marie; Pedersen, Kaj Raunsgaard; von Balthazar, Maria; Grimm, Guido W.; Crane, Peter R. (May 2009). "Monetianthus mirus gen. et sp. nov., a Nymphaealean Flower from the Early Cretaceous of Portugal". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 170 (8): 1086–1101. doi:10.1086/605120. ISSN 1058-5893. S2CID 84760466.
Taylor, David Winship; Gee, Carole T. (1 October 2014). "Phylogenetic Analysis of Fossil Water Lilies Based on Leaf Architecture and Vegetative Characters: Testing Phylogenetic Hypotheses from Molecular Studies". Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History. 55 (2): 89–110. doi:10.3374/014.055.0208. ISSN 0079-032X. S2CID 84253809.
Friis, Else M.; Iglesias, Ari; Reguero, Marcelo A.; Mörs, Thomas (2017-08-01). "Notonuphar antarctica, an extinct water lily (Nymphaeales) from the Eocene of Antarctica". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 303 (7): 969–980. doi:10.1007/s00606-017-1422-y. ISSN 2199-6881. S2CID 23846066.
Soltis, D. E.; Bell, CD; Kim, S; Soltis, PS (June 2008). "The Year in Evolutionary Biology 2008". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1133 (1): 3–25. CiteSeerX doi:10.1196/annals.1438.005. PMID 18559813. S2CID 17688086. Archived from the original on 2009-01-08.
Saarela, J. M.; et al. (2007). "Hydatellaceae identified as a new branch near the base of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree". Nature. 446 (7133): 312–5. Bibcode:2007Natur.446..312S. doi:10.1038/nature05612. PMID 17361182. S2CID 4415881.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385. ISSN 0024-4074.
Takhtajan, Armen L. (1980). "Outline of the classification of flowering plants (Magnoliophyta)". The Botanical Review. 46 (3): 225–359. doi:10.1007/BF02861558. S2CID 30764910.
Cronquist, Arthur (1981). An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-03880-5.
Dahlgren, R.M.T. (1980). "A revised system of classification of angiosperms". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 80 (2): 91–124. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1980.tb01661.x.
Thorne, R. F. (1992). "Classification and geography of the flowering plants". Botanical Review. 58 (3): 225–348. doi:10.1007/BF02858611. S2CID 40348158.

Thorne, R. F. (2000). "The classification and geography of the flowering plants: Dicotyledons of the class Angiospermae". Botanical Review. 66 (4): 441–647. doi:10.1007/BF02869011. S2CID 43430454.

Further reading

Michael G. Simpson. Plant Systematics. Elsevier Academic Press. 2006.
Thomas N. Taylor, Edith L. Taylor, and Michael Krings. 2008. Paleobotany: The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants, Second Edition. Academic Press (an imprint of Elsevier): Burlington MA, USA. ISBN 978-0-12-373972-8

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