No, I´ve never met the Queen of England, though I would love to say Hello to her if I´m given the chance. On the other hand, I am a certified fan of Queen, of Freddie Mercury´s music, especially his Live-Aid performance, I can´t get enough of it: I have watched it actually a million times.
But then, this Post is not really about the Queen, although…
I´ve met a very special living thing, a couple of months ago. Her name is Viktoria, spelled with K in German and with C in English. She is not like my everyday normal green friend like my Monstera Deliciosa or my Pilea Peperomioides, but rather a special one, a rare breed of a kind.Münich is the place we´ve met and throughout the entire time, I can´t take my eyes off from her.
Look at her huge leaves, like huge Paella pans, I mean even more bigger than that.Viktoria plants are really one of a kind wonder. Have you heard that they can stand a weight of 2 human beings?!You´ve got to see what´s under it´s leaf, it´s an example of nature wonder.
How on earth do they keep on floating? Not an exaggeration but it´s leaves are perfect in diameter, the radius is exact in perfection…
Coming from the family of Water lilies, Nympaeaceae, even their names are too hard to spell and remember.As a kid, I have seen a lot of water lilies, but not this type. I´ve seen them as quite fascinating for a plant. The common ones I played in the little pond of my Grandmother. We would poked the leaves for us to clearly see the giant Kois and golden fishes, the waterlilies are just sidekicks.
Never I have seen such a wide-leafed variety. Certain type can be 3 metres (9.8 ft) in diameter, on a stalk up to 8 metres (26 ft) in length!
I mean , I thought the Anahaw palm (Saribus rotundifolius) can be that wide, around 1,2meters, enough to cover your head like an umbrella when it rains, but this one is even huge, aide from the fact that its floating! They say a baby can even sit on top of it ?…I wonder if it´s true though… but Wikipedia helped me to confirm this.
“The leaf of Victoria is able to support quite a large weight due to the plant’s structure, although the leaf itself is quite delicate: so much so that “a straw held 6 inches above and dropped perpendicularly upon it would readily pass through it”. To counter the fragile nature of the leaf, the weight needs to be distributed across the surface through mechanical means, such as a sheet of plywood. This allows the leaf to support up to 32 kilograms (71 lb).”
Amazing, right!??? But hey, would you risk putting a baby on top of it?
This types were coincidentally named after Queen Victoria of England.Which made me wonder if they have some Victoria plants in Buckingham palace.Well at least right here in Nymphenburg Palace in Münich, they have lots of Viktorias! They lie flat on the water, have an upturned hem and on the underside a network of strong, prickly and air-filled ribs. A toddler can easily sit on a sheet of paper. My favourite so far is the green one with an upturned hem, the Viktoria Amazonica, the largest of water lily species in the world and a native from the Amazon River basin. No wonder, it´s kinda exotic and wild.
Something about them that really fascinated me. Again, I seek the help of Wikipedia, the lily, with ribbed undersurface and leaves veining “like transverse girders and supports”, was Paxton’s inspiration for The Crystal Palace, a building four times the size of St. Peter´s in Rome.
My visit was even made fabulous when I´ve met some more of the exotic flowers in the Viktoriahaus. I don´t really remember their names, but they all look weird, crazy and exquisitely beautiful.Do you know any of them ?
What´s the most exotic plant you´ve ever seen?
This Post is inspired by Cee´s Flower of the Day Challenge