Homes and gardens

From the Amazon forests

Now you can see the rare giant water lily found in Amazon forest at the Biodiversity Park

A rare spectacle awaits visitors at the Biodiversity Park located in the premises of RCD Hospital. A species of the giant water lily found in the Amazon forest has been introduced at the park recently. While the species is available at the seedling stage in the commercial market, its high sensitive and delicate characteristics make it extremely challenging to be reared successfully. In India, the species is present only in Kolkata’s famous AJCB (Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose) Indian Botanic Garden where it has been naturalised. The addition of this rare species at the Biodiversity Park here has added another feather in the cap of the garden that is a home to over 2,000 varieties of rare plant species and considered to be an important hub of study for researchers and Botany students across the country.

“The plant has got adjusted well to the environment here. New leaves have come out and we are expecting it to bloom in a couple of months time,” Prof. M. Rama Murthy, founder of the Bioversity Park, says. The species needs a vast area and undisturbed atmosphere to grow successfully, the reason why no records of its successful naturalisation has been reported from any other area apart from Kolkata’s botanic garden.

Native to South America, Amazon River, the enormous circular leaves of this peculiar lily measure up to three meters in diameter and float on the water surface on a submerged stalk of seven to eight meters length.

“Its leaves are very delicate so much so that even if a straw held six feet above is dropped perpendicular upon it, it would readily pass through the leaf,” Prof. Murty says. Interestingly, the leaves are also so buoyant that they can support the weight of a small child and a mature leaf can support 45 kg if the load is evenly distributed, he added. This is the third such botanical oddity after Krishna’s Butter Cup and Upside Down tree recorded in Kolkata’s botanic garden, all of which are found in the Biodiversity Park in the city. “These are non-invasive species and make for a magnificent sight. There is heavy demand for the giant water lily because of its enormous size and oddity,” Murty adds.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 3:05:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/from-the-amazon-forests/article19896177.ece

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