The CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) Lucknow has planted the world’s largest water lily in its garden.
NBRI officials expect that the floating leaves of this unique aquatic plant, the giant Amazonian water lily (Victoria amazonica), will soon be available to the public.
“We are keeping an eye on the factory right now. Once it fully blooms, we will open it to the public,” said Dr KJ Singh, Senior Scientist, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow.
Currently, only the AJC Bose Indian Botanical Garden at Howrah and a few gardens in southern India have these species. “It would be the first of its kind not only in Lucknow but also in northern India,” Dr Singh said.
“Giant water lilies with large floating leaves can reach up to 2.4 meters in diameter with a thick rim that can reach 20 centimeters in height. These sheets are strong enough to support the weight of a small child,” he added.
The 65 acres of the CSIR-NBRI Botanical Garden are a repository of over 6000 species or cultivars (plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding) of native and exotic plant groups.
Source of income
Water lilies are the most popular aquatic plant and have enormous market value in horticulture. The majority of varieties in the horticultural trade come from foreign lands, particularly Thailand, China and Australia.
“We at CSIR-NBRI are trying to create Indian hybrids through our research so that they can be popularized and marketed in the Indian market,” Dr Singh said.
“It will also make India self-sufficient and substitute imports. Luckily, we are now witnessing a wave of water lilies, probably due to the presence of a lot of water lilies in Indian markets. It’s a good sign,” he added.
He also said that CSIR-NBRI aims to collaborate with people associated with horticulture. “We also have plans to develop companies with people with similar interests. We will also organize Indian water lily festivals,” he added.