Friday, October 21, 2011

Queen Victoria

This is my third favorite spot in Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. When I am lost, and do not know what to do or where to go, you can find me here. This is the Sibley Victoria amazonica pool built in 2004 to be the home of the queen of the waterlilies: the ‘Giant Water-Platter,' discovered in 1801 as the genus Victoria. It was named Victoria regia for, yes, Her Majesty the Queen of England. It was later renamed Victoria amazonica. This giant waterlily is native to Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela and Peru equatorial, and to Brazil where it grows in calm waters along the mighty Amazon River. Its gargantuan glossy green leaves can grow to seven feet in diameter, although not so large here, with a pronounced maroon lip around the circumference. The lip is notched in two places to drain rainwater.

You can spot a flower bud among the 5 leaves on the left side of the photo. Unfortunately, the lush, 12-inch flowers only open at night, emitting pineapple-like scent to attract the scarab beetle pollinator (Cylocephata castaneal) for a nightly cycle of hocus pocus when the flower gender changes from female (white) to male (pink) in the morning while trapping the poor beetle inside. Let me tell you one thing, if I were that beetle, I would be shocked! You must be joking... I was visiting a girl and all of a sudden, she became a guy? Get out of here!
V. Amazonica

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