From the Arabic name nailufar
Perennial herbs. Rhizomes thick, creeping in the mud. Leaves entire, ovate to round, notched to the stalk, mostly floating. Flowers more or less round, solitary, yellow to purplish, usually above the water and with an alcoholic smell that is attractive to beetles. Sepals 4-6, yellow at least inside, petals and stamens many, small. Carpels fused, 5-20, each with many ovules. Ovary superior. Fruit ovoid, many-seeded, maturing above water.
Leaves with pinnate venation; floral parts arising from the base of the ovary; stigmas in a series of rays on top of the ovary.
Considered to consist of from 7-25 species or, sometimes, 1 variable species from Asia, North America and Europe.
Heslop-Harrison (1955), Beal (1956).
Source: (1997). Nymphaeaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.