The two plants that we measured were 2.20 m. across, but some
of the leaves in the middle of the pond looked like 2.50 and
2.60 across. We took samples of a reddish Victoria on
one side of the road and of a green one on the other. Sorry we
could not take any more because it was too deep (more than 2
meters) to take the chance to go swimming for others. Besides,
it was already close to 6:00 pm., turning dark and we had to
go back on the bad road. Not to mention the millions of mosquitoes
around that made working almost unbearable.
The largest plants
Click for large
image | Full size
The next day we came back to Santa Cruz, collecting some very
nice water and bog plants that grow on the sides of the road:
Cyperus, Heliconia, Costus, etc., and what
looks like a red flowering water Salvia that makes beautiful
red patches in the middle of the ponds and that, with the other
collected plants, I can hardly wait to see growing at my place.
Because of their location in the Beni region
of Bolivia, the Victorias at the collection site are presumed
to be V. amazonica until proven otherwise. One of the experts
we consulted about these images wrote:
"It is tough to make any distinctions among the plants
in these photos. The ones on one side of the road seem to have
less of a rim than the ones on the other, but they are growing
under less-crowded conditions. Some leaves have less red coloration
than others, but this could be a matter of age. Nothing really
jumps out at me, but the population doesn't really involve that
"It can also be possible, as was demonstrated by E.
O. Beal with Nuphar in the Carolinas, that there is a range of
(potential) variation contained in the seeds of a population
but for some unknown reason there is selective survival of only
one morphotype. Under the artificial conditions at La Rinconada,
both morphotypes could have survived.
"Sounds like they had a pretty exciting day, in any
In short, even with the images from the collection site
and Tonchi's commentary, we still don't know for sure what they
and La Rinconada's Victorias are! Leaf samples of both groups
of plants are on their way to us as we write this and, hopefully,
DNA studies will tell us more about them.
Kit & Ben Knotts