Friday, July 27, 2007

Extremely Cool!

Ok, these have to be the best thing I've seen in a plant collection ever! The Como Conservatory's new feature just outside of the Tropical Encounters exhibit have "giant Victoria water platters, just like they had at Como Park in the 1920's!!! These water lilies from South America can grow leaf pads up to 6 feet across! The pads have an interesting texture that looks almost like plastic on the top with harsh, substantial spines on the bottom. They can hold more than hundred pounds if the weight is distributed evenly over the surface of the pad.

The flowers are fascinating too. They apparently open for just two nights. The first night they are white, while the second night they're scarlet red. They are from the family of Nymphaeaceae, genus Victoria, USDA zone 10a to 11. The top photo shows other water plantings and some more rather typically sized lily pads for comparison. This is a display well worth seeing. I can't wait to take better photos the next time I'm there!