Kit wrote --
We have an answer to the questions raised by Kevin, Fernando
and Eduardo about the lilies in Tobago, Venezuela and Guatemala
from Dr. John Wiersema. John is the person we consider the ultimate
authority on Nymphaea species, the "father" of GRIN
and one of the world's leading taxonomists.
John wrote --
There has never been an American distribution cited for N. lotus
because it is not native in this hemisphere. You may be remembering
this information from a paper I published some time ago. When
I did that paper
(1982) I had seen specimens from naturalized populations from
Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela, and Panama. The plant had
become quite established in the western state of Zulia in Venezuela
and near the Canal Zone. It seems likely that it continues to
expand its range in the New World. The Guatemalan plant is definitely
N. lotus, one can tell by the way the flower opens, with the
petals being reflexed fully 90 degrees and the stamens remaining
erect. Also the peltate nature and shape of the leaves and their
margins. The question of whether it is N. lotus or N. pubescens
is not so critical, since we really do not know whether or not
N. lotus and N. pubescens should be distinguished or how they
should be distinguished. I have kept them separated mostly out
of botanical tradition, but I have no firm basis for doing so
at this time other than geography. For introduced plants in
the New World I have adopted the older name, N. lotus.
The Trinidad/Tobago plants are confusing me, because clearly
there are two different plants involved. The picture at the
top of your page 1 on the left is again N. lotus, with the flowers
in the process of closing,
and there is a closeup of a spent flower of this further down
on the same page with a closeup of a leaf just below that. However,
underneath this is a photo of plants apparently growing alongside
a river, with flowers fully open into a V-shape. This I would
identify as N. pulchella, of subg. Brachyceras. Remember that
I have partioned the former N. ampla into N. ampla, occurring
in Mexico, Central America, and the Greater Antilles, and N.
pulchella, occurring in Mexico, Central America, Greater &
Lesser Antilles, and South America. Only the latter is known
Kit interjects here --
I never realized they were so closely related since we don't
have any images of N. pulchella.
John continues --
The differences between the two are quite subtle to describe,
but easily seen when one has both plants together. The two species
are certainly related to one another. I will paste below a brief
description of the
differences between the two species:
Nymphaea ampla differs from N. pulchella in the leaf margins,
which are dentate with acute teeth in N. ampla and undulate,
crenate, or dentate with obtuse or rounded teeth in N. pulchella.
It also tends to have more
stamens, more reticulate venation on the undersurface of the
leaf, and blackish markings on the uppersurface of leaves.
I could add an additional note that there is only one historical
record for N. ampla from Texas, collected near the turn of the
last century, and none from Louisiana of which I am aware. I
have myself collected it in s.
Florida, but could not find it there on my last visit a few years
ago in the same locality. Perhaps the plant seen in Lake Charles
could be N. lotus as well, as there are introductions of N. lotus
in Louisiana reported
in my paper.
Because the plants photographed by Fernando were in cultivation,
it is difficult to know for certain from whence they came. Both
N. lotus and N. pulchella occur in the wild in Venezuela, and
would have their flowers open during the morning hours. All
of the Hydrocallis species would normally be fully closed during
the day (N. amazonum closing in the very early morning), although
flowers that had been interfered with might not close properly
and appear to be open. In any case, the only Hydrocallis that
would have non-entire leaves is N. rudgeana, but I doubt that
is his plant. My guess is that his first plant is N. pulchella,
but the resolution of the photo is insufficient to be certain.
Incidentally, I myself collected water-lilies in Venezuela
in the late 70's in collaboration with the Instituto Botanico
in Caracas, located on the grounds of the Botanic Garden. I
left several night-blooming Hydrocallis
species in the pond of the Instituto and have often wondered
if they had been cared for and survived.