Tropical Dream Center
The Royal Water Lily is the largest among the Nymphaeaceaes. It is a huge aquatic plant that grows naturally in the Amazonian region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. One leaf grows to be about 4.9 to 6.5 feet, and is known to be buoyant enough to hold a child up in the water.
There are two other types of Royal Water Lilies. The Santa Cruz Water Lily (bottom left) and The Royal Water Lily (bottom right) can be seen at the Tropical Dream Center.
The Santa Cruz Water Lily(scientific name：Victoria cruziana Orb.）features a high leaf margin that curves up high, and the back of the leaf is light green.
The Royal Water Lily(scientific name：Victoria amazonica J.De C.Sowerby）features a low leaf margin, and the back of the leaf is reddish brown. It was discovered around 1800, and it has been successfully cultivated at a botanical garden in the U.K. as well as in other locations.
The flower of the Royal Water Lily blooms at night for two days.
The flowers bloom at night, close during daylight hours, and bloom again the following night. On the first day the flower is white and has a unique scent, and on the second day it changes to pink and has almost no scent.
This characteristic is closely related to insects.
First, many insects are attracted by the strong scent of the flower even in the dark. While the insects are inside the flower feeding, morning comes. As the flower slowly closes, the insects trapped inside the flower.
By the time the flower opens again on the second night, the insects are covered with pollen. The insects that finally get away take off looking for the next flower. However, the flower that they look for then is always the white flower with scent of the first day.
By making insects carry pollen from different flowers like this, it is able to produce good strong seeds. How smart the Royal Water Lily is!
The Tropical Dream Center has Royal Water Lily flowers blooming all year long by controlling the temperature.
The video is a continuous playback of the flowering of a Royal Water Lily filmed for two days. Although only 80% of the blossoms are due to the lighting during the night, the movement of the petals can be clearly seen.
On the backside of the flat leaf are sharp prickles and thick leaf veins in mesh patterns. The air fills in between the leaf veins, which makes the leaf float.
Since the leaf vein itself is also filled with air, it acts as a float, and can hold up 44 pounds without a problem.
Also, it is believed that the sharp prickles are for protecting the leaves from being eaten by fish. This way it is able to stretch out its large leaves on the water surface under the sunlight, and it is able to survive through the severe battle for existence.
In the Amazon, small fish use this large leaf to hide. Aiming for the small fish are the large fish, and birds wait on top of the leaves aiming for the large fish. Not only that but also the birds apparently build nests on the leaves and raise babies.
We can see that the Royal Water Lily helps various creatures grow with its large presence.
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