Friday, 28 October 2016

Water lilies

Water lilies:
       After a long break let me start this blog with water lily because it is the first plant which I remember and love from my childhood. Its flower is gifted by one of my father’s friend during their tour. And it is a white water lily. And I am so happy that I am special for having water lily as the first remembering plant. Not only because of having good significance in my life history, I am emphasizing it here in my first post because of its botanical and evolutionary significance. Water lilies got a huge placement in the hearts of the gardeners and it catches the position of queen of gardens.
Water lilies are having huge diversity. Some of the interesting facts about water lilies are as follows,
  •  The largest water lily is Victoria amazonica, it is native to the amazon forest. It’s leaves can hold the weight of a child. The name is given by John Lindley named after the queen Victoria.
  • This giant water lily has an interesting fact that it is pollinated by scarab beetle. The water lily usually blooms at dusk as pure white flowers. Due to the sweet smelling scent it attracts the beetle and the beetle enters the flower and burrow it and dust the foreign pollen. Next morning it closes and the beetle is trapped and the waterlily pollen covers its entire body. The next evening the flower opens for second time and the beetle escapes and searches for another virgin flower. The fertilized flower shows deep purple hue which won’t attracts the beetles.
  • The smallest water lily is Nymphaea thermarum is a small lily is now recovering from the verge of extinction.
  • White Water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh
  • Blue water lily  is the national flower of  Sri lanka
  • Water lily is the state flower of Andhra Pradesh,
  •   The anther shape and pattern of water lilies is often quoted by botanist as an evolutionary example of flower development from leaves. The anther resembles the petals of water lilies.

There is another group called Nymphoides which is closer relative of water lily. They have similar leaf morphology but differ only in flower characteristics.

Water lily captured at TNAU, Coimbatore

Water lily captured at TNAU Coimbatore

Water lily grown in my garden

Nymphoides cristata captured at Tamiraparani river near Rettai thirupathi