Victoria amazonica is the giant water lily with the largest flower in the world. It is a common myth that this plant would only flower once a year, but in fact it flowers almost every week during the summer. The flower is only in bloom for two days.
The first day the flower is white and gives off a pineapple scent. The second day it is pink and odourless. The scent attracts beetles to pollinate the flower and bring pollen to other flowers. Our Victoria amazonica is sown every year in January, and planted in February-March, making it a huge annual. The seeds, that have to be kept under water, are collected each year by our staff.
The leaves of this plant are so big that they can hold a small child easily, but for security reasons we place something under the leaves for the annual photoshoot. In order to have made a photo with the entire crew on one of the leaves, a whole scaffolding had to be built!
This plant was discovered somewhere around 1850 in the Amazon river, and became widely popular. Several gardens built a separate glasshouse for it. over 100 years ago, it flowered for the first time in the Hortus botanicus Leiden. Victoria regia, a reference to queen Victoria, is an incorrect scientific name for this plant.