Monographs Details: Nymphoides humboldtiana (Kunth) Kuntze
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Friedrich Alexander von Humboldt, one of the most distinguished German explorers and naturalists, published many botanical works, among them the one above cited, in 7 volumes quarto, containing detailed descriptions and many illustrations of the plants collected on his historic journey through tropical America from 1799 to 1804, with his colleague Aimé Bonpland, the descriptions mostly written by Carolus Sigismund Kunth. He is commemorated in many ways, among them by the interesting fresh-water plant here illustrated, which was first described from specimens collected in Colombia. In Porto Rico, where it is the only species of its family existing, it grows in lagoons of the northern coastal plain, and on their borders, sometimes profusely, as at Laguna Tortuguero, and it has also been observed near Humacao; its further West Indian distribution is in Guadeloupe, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica; on the continent it ranges from Mexico to Bolivia and Paraguay. The plant is desirable for water-gardens, having floating leaves resembling those of some water-lilies, and bright white, 5-cleft, star-like flowers; when water is low in the lagoons it remains alive on their borders, but with shorter stems and smaller leaves than while growing immersed. No Spanish name for it has been recorded.
Nymphoides (Greek, resembling Nymphaea), is a genus established by the English botanist Hill, in 1756, consisting of about 20 species of aquatic plants, some in the temperate zones, some tropical, some of Old World distribution, others American. They are perennial by rootstocks. The broad, often orbicular, basal leaves are stalked, usually floating. The flowers are mostly peculiarly clustered at the ends of stems, at the bases of the leaf-stalks; the calyx is 5-parted, the widely spreading corolla deeply 5-cleft, in some species white, in others yellow; there are 5 stamens, borne at the base of the corolla, and alternate with its lobes, with arrow-shaped anthers; the ovary is free from the calyx, 1-celled, the style short, or wanting, the stigma 2-lamellate. The fruit is a capsule, which remains closed when mature, or bursts irregularly.
Nymphoides Humboldtianum is a smooth herb, with many, long roots. When growing immersed the stout stems are from 10 to 40 centimeters long, each bearing a solitary, nearly orbicular, somewhat fleshy, deeply heart-shaped, short-stalked leaf from 3 to 12 centimeters broad; the flowers are borne several together at the base of the leaf-stalk, their slender stalks from 1 to 10 centimeters long, deflexed in fruit; the narrow calyx-segments are about 8 millimeters long; the segments of the corolla are beautifully fringed, recurved, about twice as long as the calyx. The capsule is somewhat shorter than the persistent calyx and contains many, smooth, small, nearly globular seeds.
Villarsia Humboldtiana Humboldt, Bonpland and Kunth, Nova Genera et Species Plantarum 3: 187. 1818.
Limnanthemum Humboldtianum Grisebach, Genera et Species Gentianearum
Nymphoides Humboldtianum Kuntze, Revisio Genera Plantarum 429. 1891.