Vida Verde – A new type of giant water lily, the largest in the world

A paper published in Frontiers in Plant Science describes a new botanical discovery in Victoria, a famous genus of giant water lilies named after Queen Victoria.

Until now, only two species of giant water lilies were known, and the new species makes it three. Specimens of new species, Bolivian victory177 years in the Kew Herbarium and 34 years in the National Herbarium of Bolivia. At this time, it was generally believed Amazon wins.

However, after years of research, a team was able to confirm it as a new scientific species using a combination of new data and their experience.

3.2 meter sheets

The authors of the article decided to name the species in honor of the South American home of the water lily, which grows in the aquatic ecosystems of the Bolivian allies and Llanos de Moxos. With flowers that turn white to pink and prickly petioles, Bolivian v. It is now the world’s largest water lily, with leaves growing up to 3 meters wide in the wild. The current record for the largest species is held by La Rinconada Gardens in Bolivia, where the leaves reached 3.2 meters.

Species of the genus Victoria have been poorly classified for decades. This knowledge gap stems from the lack of ‘type specimens’ (specimens of the original plant used to systematically describe species) in global plant collections; This is because giant water lilies are difficult to collect in the wild.

In 1832, V. Amazonica was the first species to be named, but there was no data to compare it with any new species discovered since then, leading to the original misidentification of this new lily pad.

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To promote the knowledge of Victoria, The authors of the article compiled all available information from historical records, horticulture and geography. and datasets of species characteristics using citizen science (iNaturalist app and social media posts targeting Victoria and giant water lilies), and specimens from herbariums and living collections around the world.

Scientists also analyzed the DNA of Bolivian v. And they found that genetically it was very different from the other two species. The data collected confirmed what the authors suspected: this iconic genus actually has three species: V. Amazonica, v. cruziana and V. Bolivia.

Their results suggest that the new species is V. cruziana and more closely related to it They separated a million years ago.

“In the face of the rapid rate of biodiversity increase, describing new species is a task of fundamental importance; we hope that our multidisciplinary framework will inspire other researchers looking for approaches to quickly and robustly identify new species,” said Natalia. Brzełomska is a biodiversity genetics researcher at Kew and an author of the study.

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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