Every year, there are yellow globes just above the surface of the pond. Flowers. There are at least two kinds of lily pads in the pond, and this one blooms first. There were not many of them in past years, but they are more abundant this spring than before.
These flowers, along with those of other lily pads, are atypical for flowering plants. There might have been more flowers of this type long ago, but most contemporary flowers are less bulky, less fleshy, more slender, more accessible. Nevertheless, Nuphar persisted, and its persistence is testament to the success of the unusual. It doesn’t always happen that way, but these flowers are tough.
Many aquatic weeds appear to rise from the muck of death and decay to bloom above the water. This ability seems magical, even miraculous, with its hint of resurrection. Yet this is what rooted plants do – grow in a medium of decay and rise above it. But doing so from mere soil seems mundane. It is only when they emerge from the depths of a pond or – even more impressive – stagnant water, that we attach special significance to them.
And it is right and fitting that we do so. Humans cannot survive underwater for long, and we cannot survive at all having our bodies mired in aquatic mud. Yet here are vigorous and vibrant plants thriving where we cannot. For them, it is how they live. For us, it is astonishing that they can live, and be so beautiful, in such a repugnant place.
The colorful flowers last for a while, and then, if pollination has been successful, the plants switch to the production of seeds and fruit. With luck, the seeds will disperse and there will be more water lilies in the future.
After several years of being conspicuous but sparse, Nuphar is increasing in the pond. I have no idea why. Perhaps the pond is a bit shallower every year, filling up with sediment from upstream, and finally, that is favoring them. I doubt that they like the warmer weather because they are found up to northern Canada but don’t make it south beyond Maryland. Maybe it just takes them a while to get established.
Whatever the reason, the yellow globes brighten the pond, and I will admire their beauty as summer approaches.