Shapla, Water Lily, nymphaea nouchali

Shapla or Water Lily (nymphaea nouchali, family: nymphaeceae) is a common water plant and national flower of Bangladesh as well as Sri Lanka. The plant grows from underwater soil. Petiole is very very long : 60-70 cm. Leaves are round or ovate, floating on water, 15-45 cm long, edge dentate and wavy, upper side bright green and lower side reddish violet. 

Flower is white, bluish white or bluish viiolet. Sepals 4, elliptical-ovate, persistent, 3-9 cm long, outer side green, vertically striped; inner side bluish white. Numerous stamens surrounded the pistil at the centre of flower. Flower usually blooms at night during rainy season. 

Fruit is globose, glabrous, with granular seeds inside. It is found in ponds, canals, beels and jheels everywhere of Bangladesh as well as Indian subcontinent. It is locally called `Shaluk' also.

It is used in dysentery, cough, vomiting, fever, gall and heart diseases. It helps the growth of sperm and breast milk. Seeds are fried to make `khoi', which is edible. Shapla stems are eaten as delicious vegetables. If the root is not picked up completely, it is indestructible.