Victoria amazonica

Giant Waterlily (Victoria amazonica) is the largest known waterlily in the waterlily family of Nymphaeaceae, native to Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela and Peru. It was once known as Victoria regia, in honor of Queen Victoria, the Queen of England. Victoria amazonica is also known as royal waterlily. It grows in the shallow waters of the Amazon River basin, in oxbow lakes and bayous. Victoria amazonica is highly prized as an ornamental plant.

Giant waterlily bears submerged rhizomes, 7-8 m long, and large, flat, circular leaves, up to 3 m diameter, that float on the water surface. The leaves first appear as spiny heads but expand rapidly as the days go. The leaves have maroon upturned margins, 5-10 cm tall, and notched in two places to drain rainwater. The side of the leaves are covered with long, sharp spines, protecting the plant from animals and fish. Leaf size is determined by the depth of water, in which the plant is growing- the deeper the water the bigger the leaves.

The roots, flowers and upper sides of the leaves are free from the sharp spines. The underside of the leaves are maroon, and filled with web-like structure of hollow ribs, filling with air and provide exceptional buoyancy. Each plant produces 40-50 leaves per season, covering the water surface and exclude light, thus restricting the growth of other aquatic plants.

The nocturnal, large flower, white outside, pink inside, is up to 40 cm diameter, and has as many as 60 petals each. It is pure white on the first night, emitting a strong pineapple-like scent. This attracts scarab beetles to the flower, which is functioned as a female that evening, and receptives to the pollen brought by the beetles. The flower begins to close as daybreak approaches, trapping the beetles. The flower changes its function to male in day time, and releases the pollen, but cannot fertilize the flower because it has becomes male. The flower opens the second evening, with the color changes from white to pink. The beetles are released and seek out other white flowers, where it will deposit pollen to allow the seed set. The seeds of this species can be roasted and eaten.

Giant waterlily needs at least 1 meter deep of water in which to grow, and a position in full sun. Plant them in big container of rich loamy soil with added organic matter.

Propagation is by seeds. Giant waterlily grows quickly and can achieve huge size in just 7 months after planting from seed.

Giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica)
Giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica)
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authorshipLaitr Keiows
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