A Rare and Unusual Victoria amazonica,
White the Second Night

by Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images to enlarge

The brilliantly colored second night flower is one of the things that attracts us to Victoria amazonica. It can be fire engine red, deep rose, dark maroon, sometimes all in the same flower

Imagine our surprise when we went out to breed a particular V. amazonica flower the second night and found it white!

The flower was not pale pink. It was as white as a first night flower except for deep red streaks on the inner petals. Even the paracarpels were creamy white, though tipped with pink.

Generally, the warmer the weather, the deeper the color of second night Victoria flowers. Some late fall and winter flowers are paler, as well as the occasional flower in the warmer months. Though this was October, our air temperature was still 80°F (27°C) in the evening and other Victorias were very colorful.  

^ Victoria 'Adventure', V. cruziana, V. amazonica photographed the same nights the white V. amazonica opened. ^

The white V. amazonica, foreground, V. 'Adventure', background. >

V. amazonica plants are typically slow growers relative to V. cruziana and the hybrids. Many attain their largest size and begin blooming in September and October. This plant had its first flowers in September but we didn't see them the second night. This was because three flowers were bred the morning between the first and second nights, closed and covered. Two others reached above the surface and never opened.

Was this an odd flower? Would subsequent flowers continue to be white? They were, flower after flower. That raises the question of genetic aberration. It certainly is an interesting idea but is this good or is it bad? Though the plant is large and seems strong, might these white flowers be weaker? The two that didn't open, in very good weather, were certainly atypical of V. amazonica.

Will seeds resulting from self-pollinating these white flowers produce plants with white second night flowers? It will be interesting to see! It will take many people growing the strain to test it. It is lot 06A13. Our Victoria Seed Bank is now open for requests but it will be December at the earliest before selfed seeds from this plant are available for distribution. If you are interested in growing it, specify "The White One".

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