Victoria amazonica (Giant Waterlily, Victoria Water Lily, Royal Water Lily) [previously Victoria regia]
Hardiness Zones: 10-11 (Temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) will harm these; water tempature should be 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) or warmer while growing.)
Height: The petioles can grow up to 8 meters (27 feet) tall.
Diameter: The leaves grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter. Spreads up to 6 meters (20 feet) in diameter.
Growth Rate: rapid (The laminae can grow almost half a square meter a day under optimal conditions. 40-50 leaves can be produced in one season. A 20-20-20 mix fertilizer promotes growth.)
Age: short-lived perennial, sometimes grown as an annual
Root System: fairly small, serves largely as anchorage
Subspecies: V. ‘Longwood’ is a hybrid of V. amazonica and V. cruziana
Tolerates: not much other than warm water and generally humid conditions
Problems (major): Growing these requires A LOT of time and money.
Problems (minor): The water must be as still as possible; frequent movement upsets these plants.
Soil requirements: Moist, boggy soils (loam is appropriate)
Air Requirements: Heavy winds that stir the water disrupt overall health.
Watering requirement: Must be constantly submerged in still freshwater.
Sun requirement: full sun required
Depth: The water can not exceed 8 meters (26 feet) in depth. In cultivation, these are usually placed in containers 30-90 centimeters (1-3 feet) full of water.
Freshwater/Saltwater native: freshwater
Location (Pond, Stream, River, Lake, Sea, Ocean): rivers (specifically native to the Amazon River), streams, ponds
Nautical reproductive cycle: none in particular
Alternation of isomorphic/heteromorphic generations: heteromorphic (the haploid and diploid stages are readily distinguishable)
Leaf shape: Circular with upturned edges (5-9 centimeters (2-4 inches) tall), the upper potion of the laminae are waxy and repel excessive water absorption; the bottom halves of the leaves are reddish-purple with a countless number of spines. The undersides of the leaves also have “ribs” that hold air to let the leaves stay afloat more easily.
Leaf size: up to 3 meters (10 feet) across, although regularly to 2.0-2.5 meters (6-7 feet) across
Flower structure: Flowers have a myriad of white petals on the first evening open and purplish-red petals on the second evening open. The flowers are around 22-30 centimeters (9-12 inches) in diameter.
Flowering frequency: The flowers are only around for 48 hours, blooming in July or August. During the first evening, the flowers are white, have matured stigmas (lady parts), and release heat to attract pollinators. The flowers close until the next evening, where they are purplish-red, have matured anthers (boy parts), and no longer emit heat. If pollinated, the flowers goes below the water’s surface where the seeds mature.
Bulb/tuber: neither, uses roots largely for anchorage
If perfectly, equally distributed, a single leaf in good health can support 45 kilograms (99 pounds).
Typically grown as an ornamental. The seeds are edible but are relatively poor options as food.
- http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/victoria-amazonica-giant-waterlily (Kew Science Editor: William Milliken Kew Contributors: Olwen Grace (Sustainable Uses Group) Copyediting: Emma Tredwell)
- Leppard, M. (1978). The Amazonian waterlily. Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 103: 121-122.
- Mabberley, D.J. (2008). Mabberley’s plant-book: a portable dictionary of the vascular plants. 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Prance, G.T. & Arius, J.R. (1975). A study of the floral biology of Victoria amazonica (Poepp.) Sowerby (Nymphaeaceae). Acta Amazonica 5: 109-139.
Several medium-sized lily pads (uploaded 10 September 2009 by Lewis Clarke)
A close-up of larger leaves (November 3 2007)
A maturing leaf, still a ways away from maturity, at the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden (uploaded by Biswarup Ganguly on 29 January 2012)
The underside of a mature leaf, notice the change in color, “ribs”, and spines (uploaded 13 April 2008)
An emerging flower (uploaded 18 August 2012)
A beautiful fully opened flower on the first evening (uploaded 21 October 2009)
A fully opened flower on the second evening (uploaded on 21 July 2007 by Frank Wouters)
I do not own the rights of these images; all credit goes to its original creator(s).