Water lilies or lily pads comprise a family (Nymphaeaceae) of aquatic flowering plants that live throughout the world. There are around 70 know species. The lily pad that you see on top of the water is actually a single leaf from the water lily plant. Over time, a single water lily rhizome can send out enough shoots or pads to cover an area 15 feet in diameter.
Water lilies benefit the habitat in which they grow by providing shade and shelter for fish and aquatic animals. They also oxygenate the water and provide healthy bacteria. However, if unchecked, they can take over shallow water areas (under 6 feet) crowding out other plant species.
The pictures that I’ve included with this post are from the lake that I grew up on in northern Wisconsin.