The Bogbean Family

Bogbean Fringed Water-lily Bogbean Fringed Water-lily

What are they?

At first sight, the two members of the bogbean family (Menyanthaceae) cwould appear to have little in common. However, they are both hairless plants of wetland habitats that spread by extensive, rhizomatous root systems, have very similar flower structures, with five narrow sepals and five fringed petals and have leaves with flat, sheathing petiole bases.

Where are they found?

Wetland habitats, especially those with good water quality.


The two species are very different from each other in overall appearance and could not be confused.

Bogbean      Menyanthes trifoliata

Native. Uncommon but can occur in good-sized colonies in acid wetlands, especially sphagnum bog areas. Flowers May to July. A very distinctive plant with its three-lobed leaves and 'hairy' flowers in showy spikes, rising from or close to standing water.

Bogbean Bogbean Bogbean Bogbean

Fringed Water-lily      Nymphoides peltata

Considered possibly native to a few areas in Fenland where it has been known for a long time, but more recently spreading as an introduction, especially in lakes, ponds and old gravel pits. Flowers June to September. Easily mistaken for a true water-lily, especially by its floating leaves, the fringed, five-petalled flowers are very different to those plants and even the leaves can be told by their relatively delicate nature with slender, often sinuous petioles.

Fringed Water-lily Fringed Water-lily Fringed Water-lily Fringed Water-lily