It was a rare sunny afternoon in the middle of a wet monsoon. Verum, Orak and Scorch were lying down under a beautiful blue sky in Felix’s garden. They were waiting for Felix. Once he came, they had planned a jolly little picnic.
“Verum, Verum!” cried out Felix as he rushed into his garden, “Did you hear? They have found a brand new species of the giant water lily!”
“Whoa! Tell us everything,” said Orak, Verum and Scorch with interest.
“Giant water lilies are found in the Amazon Rainforest. They are characterized by their enormous size. In 1852, they were named after Queen Victoria, the ruler of England,” explained Felix, “Till now, scientists believed that there are only two varieties of giant water lilies: Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana. But now, a new species has been discovered. It’s called Victoria boliviana
For 177 years, experts at London’s Kew Gardens believed this plant to be Victoria amazonica. Even the scientists at the Natural Herbarium of Bolivia believed this for almost 34 years.
But horticulturist, Carlos Magdalena, suspected it was a different species. A horticulturist is a person who studies and grows garden plants. Magdalena is one of the leading experts on giant water lilies from all over the world.
So, Bolivian scientists donated some seeds to Kew Gardens in 2016. Kew Gardens became the only place where all three species of water lilies grew side by side.
Magdalena studied the three plants and realized one of the plants looked quite different from the other two species of giant water lilies. That’s how Victoria boliviana was discovered. It’s the largest water lily species in the world with leaves that can grow almost 10 feet wide in the wild. They can also support at least 176 pounds!”
“But why was it named boliviana?” said Scorch.
“Because it’s found in freshwater rivers, ponds, and floodplains in northeastern Bolivia, a country in South America through which the Amazon river flows,” answered Felix, “Isn’t this fascinating? A whole new species existed right before the scientist for so long!”