The Samaan Grove Wetland System

Wetlands Inhabitants
Waterlilies & Victoria

by Kevin Kenny - Click images to enlarge

Day Blooming Waterlilies

Tobago white (possibly N. pulchella). This lily can be found throughout Trinidad and Tobago. It is of particular interest to this project as it was found growing profusely in the Buccoo marsh pools. During the dry season these ponds completely dry up and in some cases are burnt by seasonal fires that scorch the area. Almost as soon as the water returns in the rainy season the plants spring to life and within a few weeks cover the shallow ponds.

 


La Brea Blue (possibly N. capensis).
  This lily was found at the Pitch Lake in south Trinidad. We were able to retrieve two plants which were placed in Lake 2A. The flowers are still quite small, about one-fourth their regular size as seen in Trinidad. We hope to add many other coloured waterlilies to the lake which we plan to call "Carnival".


     

Nymphaea mexicana.

We have kept this lily in containers because of the reputation it has for taking over and displacing other aquatic plants. It will be introduced in an area where it can be contained and if necessary eliminated.  

Victoria amazonica

 

Without a doubt the queen of the water plants at Samaan Grove is Victoria amazonica. It took many years of research to track down a source of supply. The first plant was imported from a nursery in the US and arrived via air freight in good shape. However, our plant quarantine division did not accept the documentation supplied and had the plant dipped in an insecticide which dissolved it instantly.

Eventually our internet searches turned up the Victoria-Adventure web site and we were able to source seeds from Kit and Ben Knotts in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Kit took the time to teach us how to propagate this wonderful species and we have been friends ever since. There were many challenges in getting Victoria to grow but we did eventually succeed.


 

Perhaps the most painful experience we had was when someone attempted to steal the fully grown plants that had been transferred to Samaan Grove resulting in their destruction.

These magnificent lilies flower almost every night. The flowers are coloured white on the first night, turning dark pink the following night, before dying back to become a seed pod. To date only one of these seeds has sprouted naturally and we were unable to grow this plant to maturity. We are sure that over time we will see many new plants emerging from the ponds in the places where these plants first grew and flowered.  

 


< ^ Our aquarium setup where
we grow the plants from seed
 



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