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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
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Note on Nymphæa gigantea (S608a: 1903)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Printed on page 310 of the 7 November 1903 issue of The Garden. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S608A.htm

    About two months ago I received some small tubers of the above-named Water Lily from a friend in Sydney. They were in very good condition, though only about the size of large Hazel Nuts. I potted them in small Orchid pans in loam and placed them in my warm tank. In about a week they began to form very small leaves, which in a month were about 8 inches in diameter, rather elongate ovate in form, and with nearly even outline, not scalloped as in Nymphæa scutifolia. About a fortnight ago, to my great surprise, a bud appeared. It was more nearly globular than in the South African species, and as it grew showed a somewhat pink colour at the edges of the sepals. Another bud soon followed, and both are now open, and, though small, as are the first flowers of most Water Lilies, are quite distinct from any others I have seen. They are 4 inches in diameter and open fully, floating on the water, whereas those of N. scutifolia rise a foot or more above it. The petals are about twenty in number, rather broad and rounded, not pointed as in the other blue Water Lilies, and they are of a very delicate blue with a tinge of lilac, quite distinct from those of the African species. But perhaps the most distinctive feature is in the central mass of stamens, which is large for the size of the flower, very compact, and almost globular, and of a clear sulphur yellow. They are quite free from the petals, and sharply defined both in form and colour, presenting a very beautiful contrast. Should this species grow to its full size next year, as I hope it will do, it will afford a beautiful picture with the bold deep blue N. scutifolia, the pure yellow N. mexicana, and the lovely pink N. odorata rosea, which I have growing in the same tank.

--ALFRED R. WALLACE, Broadstone, Wimborne.

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