Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - little waterlily

This is such a cute little plant, but Nymphaea thermarum, the pygmy waterlily, is extinct in the wild because of habitat destruction.  It is the world's smallest waterlily and native to Africa.  You can judge the size of the lily pads and the diameter of the open flower by the penny placed to the right.  It likes hot, mucky places.  It's growing here with the water fern Azolla, which can fix nitrogen with the help of a symbiotic cyanobacterium.  The waterlily is now cultivated at quite a few botanical gardens so that it is not likely to disappear from existence although the plant was stolen from a conservatory at Kew Gardens.  

1 comment:

Katherine Wagner-Reiss said...

Thanks for the penny, that really demonstrates how small the water lily is!
Isn't that terrible that someone would steal a sample from Kew?