Water Lily Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Water Lily Adaptations: Lesson for Kids
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  • 0:04 Plants and Photosynthesis
  • 0:48 Lily Pad & Root System
  • 1:40 Leaves, Thorns, & Flowers
  • 2:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

The water lily is a floating plant that lives in the water. It has a number of adaptations that allow it to thrive in this environment, and we'll learn about many of them in this lesson.

Plants and Photosynthesis

Have you ever visited a pond and seen a frog or a dragonfly sitting on a lily pad? Lily pads are just part of a bigger plant, and there are many different species that make up the group of aquatic plants known as water lilies. Water lilies have certain adaptations that help them live in the water. An adaptation is any characteristic or trait that helps an organism survive in its environment.

What do plants need to survive? Plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis, but they need sunlight to help turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. They also need water. Luckily, plants that live in freshwater have access to plenty of water! Let's look at some of the adaptations that help the water lily get everything it needs to thrive.

Lilly Pad & Root System

The part of the water lily you see the most is what's usually called the lily pad. These are just big, flat leaves that make up a part of the plant. If you pulled one of the leaves up out of the water, you would see a stem leading all the way down to the bottom of the pond. The water lily plant is rooted, and the leaves float on the water's surface.

What you might not know is that the root system and stem of the water lily are both pretty simple. Plants on land have root systems that stretch out in order to find more water for the plant. Water lilies don't need big root systems because they are already in the water, but roots take up nutrients from the substrate (the stuff on the bottom of the pond).

The stem of a water lily doesn't need to be strong enough to support the leaves either, because the water does that - they just float! But, the stem can grow up to 6 or 7 feet, as long as it needs to be to get its leaves to the surface.

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