Commemorating Queen Victoria (1819–1901)
Annual or short-lived perennial with short, erect rhizome. Leaves floating, orbicular, 1.5-2 m wide, the margin with a distinct rim. Lower surface with a network of prickly ribs. Leaf stalk prickly, attached at the centre of the leaf. Flowers 30-50 cm wide, nocturnal, white to pink. Petals 50-70. Carpels 30-40. Fruit large and prickly.
2 species from tropical S America.
Treated as annuals and grown from seed.
Grown as V. amazonica (Poepp.) Sowerby from the Guyana and Amazon region of S America [V. regia Lindl.]. This remarkable waterlily, with leaves large enough to support the weight of a small child, was flowered in Australia in special conservatories at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Melbourne in 1867 and Adelaide Botanic Garden in 1868. At both venues it was a great crowd pleaser. Grown in England in the 1840s; the remarkable leaf venation is said to have inspired Joseph Paxton in his design for the vast Crystal Palace created for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It is still a popular subject in botanical gardens and can be seen in Australia in the Victoria House at Adelaide Botanic Garden in a protected heated tank and also at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. Other botanical gardens that have recently explored its spectacular appearance include the Climatron glasshouse at the Missouri Botanical Garden USA whose design evokes the leaf structure, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in the UK. V. cruziana Orb. is also sometimes grown; it is similar but with the leaves softly hairy below.
Source: (1997). Nymphaeaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.