A large and elegant plant, the broad leaves of which we see floating upon the surface of the water in our brooks not unfrequently; and in the autumn large white flowers among them. The root of the plant is very long, and extremely thick, and lies buried in the mud. The leaves rise singly one on each stalk; the stalks are round, thick, and of a spungy substance, having a white pith in them; and the leaves also are thick and somewhat spungy; they are of a roundish figure, and they lie flat upon the surface of the water. The flowers stand upon single foot-stalks, arising like those of the leaves separately from the root, and being like them, light, round, glossy, and full of a white pith; the flowers are large and white, and have some yellow threads in the middle; the seed-vessel is large and roundish, and the seeds are numerous.
The root is the part used, and it is best fresh, and given in a strong decoction. It is a powerful remedy in the whites, and in those weaknesses left after venereal complaints: it is also good against violent purgings, especially where there are bloody stools. There are other kinds of water lily in our ditches, particularly a large yellow flowered one, whose roots possess the same virtues with the others, but in a less degree.