Monday, 11 September 2017

Victoria Lily

One of the highlights of our visit to the glasshouses of Edinburgh's Royal Botanical Gardens, came as we entered the 'Plants and People' house. The area is dominated by a large pond filled with lilies, among which the world's largest water Lily was flowering.
This particular lily is a hybrid between Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana and has leaves up to 9ft across in the wild. The underside of these lily pads is covered with ferocious-looking spines.
But the most exciting thing about it was its beautiful flower. Pollinated by beetles in the wild, each flower opens at night with white petals on the first night, turning pink on the second night. At about a foot across, this was an impressive flower by any standards.
The pond was home to several other species too. Floating on the surface were Pistia or Water Lettuce and the blue-flowered Eichornia or Water Hyacinth. Standing proud above the water surface, a lone pink flower of the Sacred Lotus or Nelumbo nucifera.
The seeds and roots of this species are used in Asian cooking.
Other lilies in the pond included the Blue Lotus Nymphaea stellata and a yellow-flowered cousin.
This one, seen growing among those Water Lettuces.
Just time for one last look at the Victoria Lily before we move on through more glasshouses.
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