Scientists discover new giant water lily species 科學家發現世界最大巨型睡蓮品種



Scientists discover new giant water lily species 科學家發現世界最大巨型睡蓮品種


They’re a marvel of the botanical world – giant water lilies dominating the pond in Kew Gardens.


But these aren’t just extraordinary to look at, they’re also a species that’s new to science.


Rebecca Morelle, BBC correspondent
“They are huge, aren’t they? And they feel so strong when you press down on them.”

麗貝卡‧莫雷爾       BBC通訊員

Carlos Magdalena, Horticulturist, RBG Kew
“Under the pad, there is a network of nerves and they’re filled with air.”

卡洛斯‧馬格達勒納       英國皇家植物園邱園 園藝師

For years, these plants were thought to be another species. But scientists suspected this wasn’t the case.


Carlos Magdalena, Horticulturist, RBG Kew
“When you think this is a new species, you have to demonstrate it. And this is what we have done. This is one of those things which I cannot really put into words, you know. I believe this is the highlight of my career.”

卡洛斯‧馬格達勒納       英國皇家植物園邱園 園藝師

And this new species is called Victoria Boliviana, named after Bolivia, where it grows in the wild.

這個新品種叫作 「玻利維亞巨型睡蓮」,以其野外生長地玻利維亞命名。

Rebecca Morelle, BBC correspondent
“Standing here, you really get a sense of just how huge this is. This is one plant and it’s still growing. Not only is this the first discovery of a new giant water lily species in more than 100 years. It’s also now the biggest water lily in the world, with leaves that grow to more than three metres. That’s ten feet in size.”

麗貝卡‧莫雷爾       BBC通訊員

Astonishingly, the new species had been hiding in Kew’s archives for more than 150 years. A specimen was collected and dried and stored, but wrongly identified.


The discovery now brings the number of giant water lily species to three – and a key part of studying them is to make detailed botanical drawings.


Lucy Smith, Botanical artist
“This is the open flower of the new species. Maybe I’m biased, but out of the three species I think it’s one of the most beautiful flowers.”

露西‧史密斯       植物藝術家

Drawings of the different water lilies revealed their unique features.


Lucy Smith, Botanical artist
“I could, as an illustrator, highlight those differences that I saw. And in fact, while I was drawing those differences, they became even stronger in my mind, and I found new ways of telling them apart.”

露西‧史密斯       植物藝術家

The Waterlily House at Kew was built in the 1800s to showcase these natural wonders of the Victorian age.


But this new discovery shows that even today, these giants hold some surprises – and scientists say they still have much to learn about these remarkable plants.