Plants That Look Like Lily Pads

Aquatic plants known as lily pads float on the surface of calm or slowly flowing water and have unique round leaves.

They often refer to placid and tranquil water features that enhance the beauty and tranquillity of ponds, lakes, and streams.

Yet there are many other plants that look like lily pads and can also bring something spectacular to watery surroundings.

Several of these plants have long been prized for their aesthetic appeals like water lilies and lotuses, and symbolic meaning in many civilizations.

Others are often regarded as invasive and provide serious threats to ecosystem health such as water shields and water hyacinths.

Water gardeners and environmental managers can make educated choices about what to include in their aquatic landscapes by having a thorough understanding of the many plants that mimic lily pads.

We will examine a few of these plants in further depth and emphasize their distinctive qualities in the sections that follow.

Plants that look like lily pads

Plants that look like lily pads

Here are some plants that look like lily pads:

Water lily (Nymphaea spp.)

Water Lily

Water lilies are among the most well-known with all aquatic plants that look like lily pads.

Water lilies have magnificent large fragrant blossoms that are colored from white to pink to yellow.

They also have enormous colorful floating leaves that are similar to palm fronds. 

Water lilies come in two primary variations tropical and hardy.

Tropical water lilies are indigenous to warmer areas and are not able to withstand low temperatures. Whereas water lilies are native to temperate locations and can survive winter freezes.

There are a large number of different cultivars and variants with a distinct sets of traits. 

Water lilies are a well-liked option for water gardens and other aquatic features.

They serve as an essential home for many aquatic species, such as fish, insects, and amphibians.

Water lilies are an excellent way to add beauty and intrigue to any water feature because of their exquisite blossoms and unique foliage. Learn how to plant lily plant.

Water shield (Brasenia schreberi)


A water shield is an aquatic plant that looks like a lily pad.  It is a native of North America and found in still or slowly flowing bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, and marshes.

A stem that emerges from the submerged roots of the water shield contains oblong leaves that float on the water’s surface.

The upper side of the leaves is glossy and green, and the underside is purple. The plant also has a slimy coating on its leaves that lends it its name.

Ducks, muskrats, and beavers are just a few of the aquatic animals that depend on water shields as a food source. It also offers crucial habitats for fish, insects, and other aquatic species.

The capacity of the water shield to create substantial mats on the water’s surface is one of its distinctive qualities.

These mats can assist prevent erosion along the beach and also provide shelter for animals. However, water shields sometimes overpopulate and displace native plant species which creates ecological imbalances.

Floating heart (Nymphoides spp.)

Floating Heart

Water fringe is often referred to as the floating heart. It is a kind of aquatic plant that looks like a little lily pad. 

A stem that develops from the submerged roots of a floating heart is covered with tiny, heart-shaped leaves that float on the water’s surface. 

The leaves have a reddish color on the underside and shine and green on the top side. The plant produces little, white, or pink blooms which rise on thin stalks above the foliage.

It offers vital habitats for fish and other aquatic species. 

The capacity of the floating heart to produce specialized leaves called turions is one of its distinguishing characteristics.

The species is able to spread and colonize new places when the turions rise to the surface in the spring and grow into new plants.

Spatterdock (Nuphar spp.)

plants the look like lily pads- Spatterdock

Ponds, lakes, and marshes are examples of water bodies where they can be found that are stationary or move slowly.

Large, spherical leaves on a stalk that emerges from the plant’s submerged roots make up spatterdock, which floats on the water’s surface.

The leaves are green and feature a recognizable veining pattern. Bright yellow blooms are produced by the plant, and they ascend on long stalks above the foliage.

The capacity of spatterdock to grow in a range of water depths, from only a few inches to several feet deep, is one of its distinctive characteristics.

Moreover, it can withstand a variety of water conditions, including calm rivers and slowly running streams.

Indigenous peoples have traditionally used spatterdock for food, medicine, and other cultural rituals. 

Parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)

plants the look like Parrot feather

Delicate, feather-like leaves of parrot’s feathers grow in whorls around the stem. The leaves can become up to 5 inches long and are vivid green.

On the terminals of the stalks, the plant develops little, inconspicuous blooms.

The feather of a parrot can develop both submerged and immersed, or both underneath and above the water’s surface.

While it can grow in a range of water environments, it favors calm or slowly flowing waters, such as those found in ponds, lakes, and canals.

The high development rate of a parrot’s feather is one of its distinctive qualities, which can make it a well-liked option for aquariums and water gardens.

Its capacity to swiftly produce thick mats, however, can also make it an unwelcome invasive species that can disrupt aquatic habitats and suffocate local plant species.

Parrot’s feather has various advantages despite its intrusive tendencies.

Removing extra nutrients from the water, such as nitrogen, and phosphorus, can aid in enhancing the quality of the water. Moreover, it can serve as a home for fish and other aquatic creatures.

Duckweed (Lemna minor)

plants that look like lily plant: Duckweed

The duckweed we know and love can be floating in freshwater habitats all over the planet. 

The scientific name for this plant is Lemna minor. It is a member of the Lemnaceae family.

The average height of a duckweed plant is just a few millimeters. It consists of one or more small and round or oval leaves that float together. Depending on the species the leaves might be green or red.

It thrives in many freshwater environments like Lakes, ponds, ditches, and even slow-moving streams. A plant with as much versatility as duckweed. 

It grows in both warm and cold water. 

One of duckweed’s defining features is its remarkable propensity for rapid reproduction. The amount of biomass produced by a single plant doubles every two days in optimal conditions. 

Duckweed is an important plant for cleaning the water of nitrates and phosphates.


This article has looked at the aesthetics and practicality of lily-pad-like plants. 

We’ve spoken about the traits and ecological significance of both lily pads and their resemblances, as well as the difficulties they encounter and their possible advantages for people.

 These plants play a crucial role in the environment from supplying food and shelter for a variety of animals to performing crucial ecosystem services like oxygen generation and water filtering.

More study is required to comprehend these intriguing plants and conserve them.

This might include studying their genetic variety, looking at how they could be used in many fields, and coming up with ways to lessen the dangers that come from human activity and climate change.

Generally, lily-pad-like plants play important functions in sustaining healthy aquatic environments in addition to being aesthetically attractive.

It is essential that we continue to research and appreciate these plants to maintain their protection.