Ventnor Botanic Garden is set to host a late-night public display of a new hybrid of Giant Waterlily for the first time, a mix of both the Victoria Amazonica and Victoria Cruziana species.
The seed was sown on 3rd March and this week, nearly 4 months since the planting, the magnificent lily is finally set to flower.
These plants only flower late at night and therefore the garden will be holding special events in the Tropical House for visitors to see the unique plant and to enjoy its rare and beautiful flowers.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the plant, public openings will be announced on the day.
The Giant Waterlily, Victoria spp has such a remarkable growth rate, it develops from a pea sized seed to a plant, with lily pads nearly 3m in diameter; within a few months, it is even able to bear the weight of a child! Each individual flower only opens twice. On the first night the flower is white in order to attract scarab beetle pollinators. The beetles are attracted to the whiteness of the petals and the strong scent the flower produces. At this stage the flower is receptive female. Over night, the flower closes which traps the beetle inside. The flower then changes its sex, and releases pollen onto the imprisoned beetle. On the second night the flower opens again, but this time it is pink in colour. The beetle is freed from the flower and free to move onto another plant, again attracted by the white petals and strong scent. Pollination is complete and the lifecycle of the lily starts again.
You can followe the growth and development of the Giant Waterlily, tracking its progress through the Ventnor Botanic Garden website at www.botanic.co.uk.