Waterlily (Victoria)

The genus Victoria represents the giant water lilies. The most famous, Victoria amazonica, is the largest of all with leaves sometimes nearly 3 m in diameter, on stalks 7-8 m in length. Victoria is named after Queen Victoria. Victoria amazonica was once called Victoria regia, but the species name was superseded.

Victoria amazonica is native to the shallow waters of the Amazon River basin, such as oxbow lakes and bayous. It is depicted in the Guyanese coat of arms. The flowers are white the first night they are open and become pink the second night. They are up to 40 cm in diameter, and are pollinated by beetles.

A second species, Victoria cruziana, in the Parana-Paraguay basin which is only slightly smaller, with the underside of the leaves purple rather than the red of Victoria amazonica, and covered with a peach like fuzz lacking in Victoria amazonica. V. cruziana opens its flowers at dusk.

A third type, Victoria mattogrossensis or Victoria cruziana var. mattogrossensis, found in the pantanal region, resembles Victoria cruziana except in having huge seeds.