The Miniature Tropicals
Who are they? Where do they come from? How are they grown?
Where do they take us?

Introduction and Index to Articles
by Kit Knotts
Click images to enlarge


Nymphaea minuta
James Knock Photo 

Two little, miniature in fact, tropical day blooming waterlily species have recently really drawn the attention of hybridizers around the world. Each is interesting, a little difficult and unpredictable, and not very pretty. The flowers are tiny and pale with few petals.

Why are they so interesting? They are very primitive and remarkably similar -- are they related? Our international panel of experts provides us with the most comprehensive look at them to be found anywhere. Beyond the appeal of these little plants to collectors who enjoy growing usually less showy species plants, they could lead us to a new generation of small hybrids, vibrant and compact, the dream of many hybridizers and growers.

Ivan Nozaic, Queensland, Australia, discovered Nymphaea minuta in Madagascar and we present his account of that find. He shared seeds of it with Walter Pagels and others. Walter made it available to many growers in the United States and elsewhere who today experiment with crossing it, Rich Sacher among them.

Ivan was also among the first to recognize and collect a small light blue waterlily in Queensland, Australia. Leading taxonomists are comfortable calling it N. nouchali, as it matches the type description recorded by Burmann in India in 1768 but, until this is proven, we call it the Australian N. nouchali in this series of articles. Andre Leu, Australia, discusses the status and possible evolution of this primitive little waterlily and compares it with N. minuta. Dr. John Wiersema contributes his taxonomic expertise on the Australian N. nouchali.  


Nymphaea nouchali
Barre Hellquist Photo 

In my personal opinion, shared by other authors in this series, this calls into question most other versions of N. nouchali supposedly found wild or cultivated in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and elsewhere, which have more the appearance of N. capensis than of this little lily.  
   

 

 

N. nouchali in Sri Lanka in the wild, in the market, and in the temple
Photos by Rafaelle Ferraro - Read his account here

Carlos Magdalena, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom, is, along with Andre Leu, one of the few people who grow both species and can compare them directly. He tells their stories with his usual exuberance and humor.

Dr. Barre Hellquist, United States, and Nan Bailey, Australia, have also collected N. nouchali and provide details. Nan's description and cultivation notes may help others with this tricky little devil. David Curtright, United States, shares his cultivation techniques for N. minuta.

AND THEN! What results from first generation crosses? How about an Anecphya-type flower you can grow in a teacup? Carlos Magdalena and Rich Sacher present the children of N. minuta.


Nymphaea minuta

Ivan Nozaic Discovers It:
his personal account
 

The Australian
Nymphaea nouchali

Andre Leu Discusses It:
is it a unique species?
     

 Carlos Magdalena Grows Both
and writes about status, cultivation, and his method of sowing seeds
     

Walter Pagels is "Johnny Appleseed" of N. minuta
and explores the Nomenclature of N. nouchali
 

Diminutive Nymphaeas and Their Place in the Hobby by David Curtright
 

 Dr. John Wiersema on its Taxonomy and Nomenclature
   

 The Hybrids
 
   

Dr. Barre Hellquist's Images of
and Experience with it
 

Carlos Magdalena's Magical Miniatures
 
     

 Rich Sacher's Lusty Li'l Seedlings
 

 Nan Bailey Knows It and Grows It
     

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