Plant Nature Study I by Various Plant Nature Study I by Various    

Lesson 24: Lilies in the Pond (Aquatic Plants)

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Peter Rabbit had gone over to the Green Forest for a call on his big cousin, Jumper the Hare. If Peter wants to see Jumper, he has to go to the Green Forest, for that is Jumper's home, and he is such a timid fellow that he rarely even pokes his nose outside of it. Peter didn't find Jumper where he expected to, and so started to look for him. He visited one place after another where Jumper was in the habit of going, but without success. Now Peter had no particular reason for wanting to see Jumper, but when he couldn't find him he grew more and more determined that he would find him. You see, having started to do that thing Peter hated to give up.

So he hopped along farther and farther into the Green Forest until at last he reached a part where he had been only once or twice before in all his life. By this time he had about made up his mind that it would be useless to look farther. He was hesitating whether to keep on or to turn back when who should appear but Jumper himself.

"Hello, Cousin Peter. What are you doing way over here?" exclaimed Jumper.

"I've been looking for you," replied Peter. "And I had just about made up my mind that something had happened to you. What's the news over here in the Green Forest?"

"There is no particular news that I know of," replied Jumper, "unless it is news that the Blue Bells are open."

"Blue Bells!" cried Peter. "What are Blue Bells?"

"If you don't know the Blue Bells, Cousin Peter, it is high time you did," replied Jumper. "If you are not too tired, follow me and I will show them to you."

Now Peter was tired, but he promptly forgot it. Curiosity was greater than the mere tired feeling. "Lead the way, Cousin Jumper, and I'll follow," replied Peter, promptly.

So Jumper led the way still farther into the Green Forest until at last they came to a place where the Laughing Brook flowed between high, rocky banks. Jumper led Peter to the edge of the bank. "Look down on that little ledge of rock below us," said Jumper.

Peter looked, and then he drew a long breath of pure delight. That ledge was damp and covered with patches of moss. But what had caused Peter to draw that long breath was a little group of beautiful blue flowers more than half an inch in length swinging in the wind like little bells. So delicate were they and so beautiful was their color that it was no wonder Peter drew that long breath.

The stalks on which they grew were quite long, but so slender that they were almost like fine wires, and the faintest breath of air made them sway back and forth. Some of the stalks were branched and some were single. The leaves scattered along the stalks were long, pointed and so narrow that they hardly seemed like leaves.

As I have said before, each flower was like a little bell. There were no separate petals, but the edge was divided into five rather pointed divisions as if in the long-ago days when the world was young the flowers from which these had descended might have had five separate petals, which for reasons of her own Old Mother Nature had caused to grow together for more than half their length. There were five slender stamens, and a greenish-white pistil. Some of the flowers were almost the color of the blue, blue sky, while others were more purplish.

Jumper had called them Blue Bells. Often they are called Blue Bells of Scotland. Because of their fine stems they are also called Harebells, and occasionally they are called Lady's-thimble. But no name fits them better than the one Jumper had given them. Though the place where Peter had found them was the kind of a place they love best, they are also found on dry, rocky cliffs, sometimes in meadows and in rocky woods. Once in a while they will be found in sandy fields.

For a long time Peter and Jumper visited together on the top of that bank where they could admire the Blue Bells while they gossiped. "Do you know of any other flowers I haven't yet seen?" asked Peter, at last.

"Have you seen the Showy Lady's-slipper yet?" Jumper inquired.

Peter scratched his head as if in doubt. "I don't know," said he. "I've seen the Pink Lady's-slipper and the Yellow Lady's-slipper and the White Lady's-slipper. Is there any other?"

"I should say there is!" exclaimed Jumper. "Those are all lovely, but wait until you see the Showy Lady's-slipper. That is the loveliest of all. Come along with me and I'll show it to you."

Jumper led the way down along the bank of the Laughing Brook. By and by they came to a swamp where the ground was very wet and soft, and where ferns and various plants grew high and close together. Into this swamp Jumper hopped with Peter right at his heels. "There!" cried Jumper, at last. "What do you think of that, Peter Rabbit?"

He had stopped before a stout plant about two feet high. The stalk was covered with tiny hairs like fine down, and the leaves which sprang out from it all the way to the top were also downy. In appearance they were very like the leaves of the Yellow Lady's-slipper, and had there been no flowers on the plant, Peter would have known it at once for a member of the Lady's-slipper family.

But there were flowers. There were two at the top of this particular plant. On another plant a little way off was one, and on a third plant there were three." What did I tell you?" cried Jumper, triumphantly.

"You told me the truth," replied Peter. "It is the loveliest Lady's-slipper of all. I am so glad you brought me over here. Not for anything would I have missed seeing it."

In general shape the flowers were much like those of the Yellow Lady's-slipper. But the two side petals, instead of being long, narrow and twisted, were fairly wide with rounding points, and were pure white. The sepals were also white, and broad and spreading. But it was the big pouch or lip which caused Peter to exclaim right out. It was white, beautifully marked with pink spots and stripes. Showy this flower certainly is, but at the same time it is delicately beautiful. These flowers also have a delightful fragrance.

Peter parted with Jumper there in the swamp and kept on along the Laughing Brook through the swamp, and finally out to the Smiling Pool on the Green Meadows. He had it in mind to pay his respects to Grandfather Frog, but when he reached the Smiling Pool he forgot all about Grandfather Frog. Seeming to float on the surface of the water were beautiful great white flowers with hearts of gold.

"Pond Lilies!" cried Peter, delightedly. "I didn't know it was time for them yet."

"Chug-arum!" exclaimed a deep, gruff voice. "Of course it is time for them. They have been in bloom for a week. If you visited your old friends a little oftener, you wouldn't be behind the times, Peter Rabbit." It was Grandfather Frog, who was sitting on a big green lily pad a little way out from shore.

"I know it, Grandfather Frog," said Peter. "I know it. But I can't be everywhere at once, and there is so much to see these beautiful June days. How lovely those Lilies are! They look as if they are simply floating on the water, but of course that cannot be."

"Of course not," replied Grandfather Frog. "They have long, hollow, rubbery stems which go clear down to the roots in the mud at the bottom of the Smiling Pool."

Peter looked out at the many-petaled blossoms longingly. Some of them he could see were slightly tinged with pink, but most of them were pure white. "Tell me, Grandfather Frog," said he. "Have they any scent?"

"I should say they have!" replied Grandfather Frog. "They have a lovely scent, and that is why they are often called the Sweet-scented White Water Lily. You can talk all you please about your land flowers, but you can't make me believe that there are any lovelier than these. Do you know that they close at night, Peter Rabbit?"

"Do they?" asked Peter.

"They certainly do," replied Grandfather Frog. "That is, they do for two nights after first opening. The third night they do not close, but remain open until they fade. You see, they bloom for three days. They love the sunshine. But they open just the same even if the sun isn't shining. Now tell me truly, Peter, have you seen anything lovelier this summer?"

Peter thought of all the lovely flowers he had seen, but he had to confess that he had seen nothing more lovely than these beautiful white blossoms surrounded by their broad, green leaves which, like themselves, seemed to float on the water. Once a Merry Little Breeze lifted one of these leaves so that Peter saw the underside of it, and to his surprise he discovered that instead of being green it was reddish.

Peter remained long enough to see some of those Lilies begin to close. Then he decided that he had seen enough for one day and that it was high time for him to return to the dear Old Briar-patch.

    Plant Nature Study I by Various Plant Nature Study I by Various    

Lesson 24: Lilies in the Pond (Aquatic Plants)


Study the lesson for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the story.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Recite aloud the vocabulary words and their definitions.
  • Learn the concepts.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Study the review questions.


Peter finds the Blue Bells growing on the rocky banks of the Laughing Brook. The beautiful bells of blue swing from thin stems in the wind. The Blue Bell has no separate petals, instead they are fused before separating into points near the end of the bell. Peter next examines the Showy Lady's slipper, its white and pink colors making it most lovely lily of all. Lastly, Peter visits the Smiling Pool and finds the Pond Lily or Sweet-scented White Water Lily. Although Pond Lilies grow at the surface of the water, their hollow stems lead down to the mud where their roots grow. Pond Lilies only bloom for three days before they fade.


Aquatic: Living in or near water.
Lily Pad: The round leaf of a water lily, which floats on the surface of the water.


Aquatic Plants:

  1. In the story, the Pond Lily and its lily pads seem to float upon the water.
  2. The Pond Lily is an aquatic plant. Aquatic plants are those that grow near or in the water.
  3. Aquatic plants grow in places such as ponds, rivers, lakes, seas, and marshes.
  4. Some plants, such as seaweed, grow under the water.
  5. Aquatic plants provide hiding places for other water creatures, such as fish.
  6. Aquatic plants produce the oxygen that animals, including humans, must breathe to live.
  7. Aquatic plants also provide food for some animals.


Activity 1: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the story events aloud using your own words.

Activity 2: Study the Story Picture

Study the picture of the Pond Lily and find the following:

  • Lily pad
  • Something that blooms for only three days
  • Something that floats
  • Something that closes for the first two nights, but remains open the third
  • An aquatic plant

Activity 3: Take a Nature Walk or Research Online - Aquatic Plants

  • Embark upon a nature walk to a pond, a marsh, or a river.
  • Locate a specimen of an aquatic plant.
  • Does it grow out of the water, float upon the water, or grow under the water?
  • Do you see any animals interacting with the aquatic plant?
  • Does your specimen grow in a pond, a lake, a stream, a river, or a sea?
  • Does your specimen grow in fresh water or salt water?
  • Make observations of the aquatic plant and its habitat and gather data.
  • Use the gathered information to create the field book entry.

Activity 4: Complete a Field Book Entry   

After your nature walk, complete page 29 in 'Science Field Book for Third Grade.'


Question 1

Where do aquatic plants grow?
1 / 4

Answer 1

Aquatic plants grow in rivers, streams, ponds, marches, and seas.
1 / 4

Question 2

Name two aquatic plants.
2 / 4

Answer 2

Aquatic plants mentioned in the lesson include seaweed and pond lilies.
2 / 4

Question 3

Can aquatic plants grow in both fresh water and seawater?
3 / 4

Answer 3

Yes, aquatic plants grow in both fresh water and seawater.
3 / 4

Question 4

How do aquatic plants help animals living in the water?
4 / 4

Answer 4

Aquatic plants provide hiding places for other water creatures, such as fish.
4 / 4

  1. Where do aquatic plants grow? Aquatic plants grow in rivers, streams, ponds, marches, and seas.
  2. Name two aquatic plants. Aquatic plants mentioned in the lesson include seaweed and pond lilies.
  3. Can aquatic plants grow in both fresh water and seawater? Yes, aquatic plants grow in both fresh water and seawater.
  4. How do aquatic plants help animals living in the water? Aquatic plants provide hiding places for other water creatures, such as fish.


  1. 'Aquatic plant.' Wikipedia. n.p.
  2. 'Green Kelp Underwater Picture by nicholebohner. {(CC0 1.0)}' Pixabay. n.p.
  3. Burgess, Thornton. Burgess Flower Book for Children. Ithaca, Boston, Massachusetts. Little, Brown, and Company, 1923.
  4. Comstock, Anna Botsford and Gordon, Eva L., Handbook of nature-study (Twenty-fourth edition). Ithaca, New York Comstock Publishing Company, Inc, 1911.