The world largest water lily is its own species | Science

When European botanists in the 19th century came across majestic water lilies with leaves bigger than a ping-pong table, they first thought these South American plants were just one species.Soon they realized that the genus Victoria (named after a contemporary British monarch) included two species, V. amazonica and V. cruziana.Now, researchers have discovered that there are actually three species, and a specimen of a newly discovered species, Vibrio bolivia, growing in Bolivia’s La Rinconada Gardens holds the world record for leaf size at 3.2 meters wide.
Botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, who had a living specimen of this plant 177 years ago, and the National Herbarium of Bolivia, who collected its own 34 years ago, wondered if it might not be V. amazonica or V. . cruziana because of its leaves The shape, color and size of the flowers and seeds appear to be an amalgamation of the two plants, especially after a botanical artist documented the differences while depicting the 2-day flowering of these night bloomers.
Due to their size and fleshy nature, these water lilies are notoriously difficult to collect, preserve and study.However, the researchers were eventually able to obtain DNA samples from preserved herbariums and some fresh specimens of the three species.They also used published genome and gene activity data on V. cruziana.Genetic analysis found DNA insertions and deletions in the chloroplast that make Vibrio bolivia a unique new species, they report July 4 in Frontiers in Plant Science.
Indigenous peoples have long had local names for both known species: “auapé-yaponna” for V. amazonica, which they use to make black hair dye; “yrupé”, “yacare yrupé” or “naanók lapotó” for V. cruziana, the seeds of which can be substituted for corn.It’s unclear whether they recognize V. boliviana as its own species.
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Post time: Jul-21-2022

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