Giant Lily

A distinctive waterlily from South America, Victoria cruziana produces enormous lily pads that lie flat on the water's surface. It has large, attractive flowers that nestle in-between the expanding lily pads.

The genus Victoria was named in honour of the UK's Queen Victoria (1819-1901). The specific epithet cruziana was given in honour of AndrĂ©s de Santa Cruz (1792-1865), President of Peru and Bolivia, who sponsored an expedition to Bolivia in which the first specimens of this species were collected.

Victoria cruziana is one of two species within the genus Victoria, the other being Victoria amazonica. These giant waterlilies attracted great attention in the UK when they were first cultivated at Kew during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Bright green lily pads (leaf blades) up to 2 m wide, with thick rims (upturned leaf margins) up to 20 cm high, which distinguish it from its close relative Victoria amazonica .

Lily pads have a waxy surface, which helps repel water. Leaves green on both sides (underside sometimes reddish), smooth above but with abundant sharp spines beneath, which are possibly a defence against herbivorous fish and manatees. Underside of lily pad bears a network of prominent veins.

The floating leaf blade is attached to the rhizome by a long, flexible petiole (leaf stalk).


Information of the Giant Lily is courtesy of Kew Science