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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Giant Water lilies at the Meise Botanical Gardens

One of the things that I had been really looking forward to when I planned my visit to the Meise Botanical Gardens was seeing the Giant Water lilies, Nymphaea gigantea and Santa Cruz Waterlilies, Victoria cruziana. Unfortunately the Santa Cruz Water lilies were not in flower and the Giant Water lilies appeared to have just finished flowering and the remaining flower-heads were looking rather dilapidated.
Victoria cruziana and Nymphaea gigantea in the Victoria House of the Miese Botanical Garden Plant Palace

Victoria cruziana and Nymphaea gigantea in the Victoria House of the Miese Botanical Garden Plant Palace

 Victoria cruziana was discovered in Bolivia by French Naturalist Alcide d'Orbigny during one of his expeditions in the region. The species is named after Andrés de Santa Cruz who had sponsored the expedition by Alcide's brother Charles Henry Dessalines d'Orbigny a botanist and geologist.
Santa Cruz was President of Peru and Boliva and was Supreme Protector of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. It's more well known relative is Victoria amazonica which was originally called Victoria regina in honour of Queen Victoria although the name was changed to that of the Amazon where it is found in shallow waters of the Amazon Basin. The Genus Victoria is was also named in honour of Queen Victoria.
Nymphaea gigantea on the other hand is native to Australia and New Guinea.

Nymphaea gigantea in the Victoria House of the Miese Botanical Garden Plant Palace

Scientific Name: Nymphaea gigantea
Common names: Water lilies (English); Nénuphar d'ustralie (French); Australische waterlelie (Dutch)

Victoria cruziana in the Victoria House of the Miese Botanical Garden Plant Palace

Scientific Name: Victoria cruziana
Common names: Santa Cruz Water lily, Water platter, yrupe (English); Nénuphar géant (French); Reuzenwaterlelie (Dutch)

Taxonomic hierarchy: 

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae – Green plants
Infrakingdom: Streptophyta – Land plants
Division: Tracheophyta – Vascular plants
Subdivision: Spermatophytina – Spermatophytes (seed plants)
Infradivision: Angiospermae – Angiosperms (flowering plants)
Class: Magnoliopsida
Superorder: Nymphaeanae
Order: Nypmhaeales
Family: Nymphaceae – Water lilies (English)

Genus: Nymphaea – 
Species: Nymphaea gigantea – 

Genus: Victoria – 
Species: Victoria cruziana – 

  • I am using the taxonomical classification system used by ITIS (Intergrated Taxonomic Information System). I have decided to use this system in order to avoid confusion as well as because it offers a comprehensive hierarchy from kingdom right through to subspecies whereas other sources only go as far as order or  provide the names of some of the higher taxonomical ranks but only indicate "unclassified" rather than providing the rank.
  • When and where possible I will endeavour to include alternatives classifications although  I may limit this to occasions where an opportunity arises to discuss the reason for the different classifications.
  • Taxonomical data used in this post was retrieved [June 15 2014], from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database,


On-line sources:

Further reading:

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