Flowering of the Amazon waterlily

26 June 2015

Date posted: 26 June 2015

A true night owl, the Victoria amazonica waterlily waits until after dark to flower, and uses all of its allure to attract the scarab beetles it requires for pollination.

On the evenings of Monday 22 June 2015 and Tuesday 23 June 2015 a timelapse camera was set up in the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion at Adelaide Botanic Garden.

The footage is nothing short of remarkable, catching the beauty of the flower opening its white petals and releasing its fragrant scent – irresistible to the beetles – before closing again, trapping them inside.

The following evening, after spending a day with the beetles inside, the flower’s petals turn a purple colour, signalling that pollination has taken place. The plant then reopens, releasing the beetles to move onto their next flower, and then closes for the second time before sinking underwater where its seeds develop.

Flowering of the Amazon waterlily in Adelaide Botanic Garden

This week’s footage captured a flower unusually late – we typically see our Victoria amazonica, which originates from the lakes and backwaters of the Amazon River, put on its show between September to April.

If you want to stay updated on when the Victoria amazonica is flowering next, don’t forget to follow Adelaide Botanic Garden on Facebook, and the Botanic Gardens of South Australia on Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our monthly e-Newsletter.

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