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The Victoria Waterlily

Photograph of girl violinist on giant lily pad at the St. Louis Jewel Box Lily Ponds

Amazonian Water Plants

In case you missed it, this picture of a young violinist standing atop an enormous lily pad in the Jewel Box Central Pond was featured on our home page in August 2022. These large lily pads belong to the Victoria Waterlily family, native to the Amazon River basin.

These incredible water plants can grow to cartoonish sizes – up to 10 feet across. In some parts of the world, it’s trendy to pose on one of these impressive pads, which can support up to 140 lbs.

Photo Credit/ Permission to Use: Alex Mayfield

Just Add Heat

There are three species of the Victoria Waterlily and the Jewel Box Ponds are home to a hybrid. Victorias can also be found at the Missouri Botanical Garden, which starts these tropical waterlilies from pea-sized seeds each Spring. The St. Louis Water Garden Society and MoBot collaborate each year to ensure there are waterlilies for the Jewel Box Ponds.

As you can see, they grow rather quickly!

Beautifully Fierce

Victoria waterlilies have wicked spines almost everywhere – including the ribbed undersides of their leaves, flower buds, and leaf stems. The stems carry air to submerged parts of the plant in their tube-like structure.

The Victoria Waterily at Night

Victorias are night bloomers. Each flower opens fully in late evening, for only two or three nights. During the day, you can see buds and closed flowers.

The first night it blooms, the Victoria Waterlily flower heats up to nearly 98-degrees and releases a scent like rotting fruit. We might find that aroma cloying, but it attract beetle pollinators effectively.

For more information on Victoria waterlilies:  Victoria Link