Carlos Magdalena,
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,
Creates
Magical Miniatures
Nymphaea carpentariae
x N. minuta

Click images to enlarge
All images by Carlos Magdalena, RBG, Kew, unless otherwise specified.
     

 

   
 
     

An image says more than a thousand words and I hope that the many pictures on this page are enough to describe the "look" of this hybrid. Traditionally, it has always been easier to come up with larger and larger hybrids, probably as a direct consequence of hybrid vigour. Nymphaea nouchali (so far, Australian N. nouchali . . .) and Nymphaea minuta seem to be the perfect parents for dwarf hybrids.

Species in the subgenus Brachyceras tend to be sparse bloomers and therefore, in displays, hybrids catch the eye of visitors more easily than natural-source plants. On the other end, species in the Anecphya group are proven to have the "wow" effect. Besides purity as species, they produce very large plants, with impressive blooms in good quantities. The downside is that they need big pots, lots of space, high constant temperatures and high levels of light.

In my experience, intersubgeneric crosses involving Anecphya and Brachyceras are not something very difficult to achieve and here you can see a new example. Multiple seedlings from a single pod were grown as the pollination led to many seeds being produced at once. It was so successful that I feared that it was going to be the result of a self-pollination of N. carpentariae. The idea vanished quickly: N. carpentariae never has produced a fruit if the flower was not hand-pollinated, and nearly all the seeds germinated straight away (carpentariae is reluctantly difficult to germinate). Furthermore, hastate leaves of the seedlings were smaller than usual, and when the first floating leaves grew it was evident that the hybridization had taken place. 

     

N. carpentariae


N. carpentariae x N. minuta

N. minuta 

     

So far all the plants have bloomed white or pink, generally on long flower stalks (all but one plant that opens the flowers on short stalks underwater . . .). As seen in the pictures, flowers are very small, (especially in the pink forms) and vary in size from 3 to 10 cm (1.6 to 4 "). They seem to be reliable bloomers. Flowers, unlike the N. carpentariae parent, close at night but they seem to open earlier and close later than N. minuta. The general look is a tiny version of N. carpentariae. This enables the cross to flower in a "yogurt sized" pot for a while.

Six plants in 1l cm pots (4.3 ") can be easily grown in one square metre (11 square feet) of pond surface, so they may be ideal for group planting. What about in an aquarium? The submersed flowering one, perhaps? The leaves don't seem to exceed 10 cm (4 ") and have a serrated edge that looks similar to those found in the night bloomer subgenus Lotos, but with the sprawling habit of subgenus Anecphya. They haven't been tried yet in dark conditions or cool temperatures, but it is likely that they are more tolerant than Anecphya species. So far these seem to be sterile hybrids. 

     

N. carpentariae

 N. carpentariae x N. minuta

N. minuta

       

N. carpentariae

 N. carpentariae x N. minuta

N. minuta

 

 

 

 
James Knock Photo
       

N. carpentariae

N. carpentariae x N. minuta

 N. minuta


Andre Leu Photo

 

 

 
Kit Knotts Photo
       
So what about Aussie N. nouchali? Does it cross with Aussie Nymphaea subgenus Anecphya? Well yes, or at least that is the only explanation for a batch of seedlings that is growing on (but not flowering yet!) at this time, N. georginae x nouchali. Other crosses in the pipeline? N. georginae x minuta, N.immutabilis x minuta, N.gigantea x minuta, N.gigantea x nouchali are already under way (seed pod, seed, or seedling stage), so this seems to be the beginning of the saga of pocket-sized Anecphya-like waterlilies . . . 
       

The Miniature Tropicals
Introduction & Index
Articles by
Ivan Nozaic | Andre Leu | Carlos Magdalena | Walter Pagels

John Wiersema | Barre Hellquist | Nan Bailey | David Curtright
New Miniature Hybrids by
Carlos Magdalena | Rich Sacher

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