Read about Walter
Legendary aquatics collector and authority -
and explores the
Nomenclature of N. nouchali
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James Knock Photo
Table of Contents
Walter Pagels has been instrumental in distributing N.
minuta to all interested in studying and growing it. Having
received seeds from Ivan Noziac, who originally collected it
in Madagascar in 1999, Walter has become the "Johnny Appleseed"
of N. minuta. We owe him our thanks for his generosity.
When asked about the "Australian N. nouchali"
This is a small waterlily found growing in shallow roadside
pools and streams located in or near Cairns, Australia. It is
very small; the ones I have seen are smaller than N. tetragona
or the recently described N. minuta. I have never seen
it described in botanical literature. The flower has only eight
petals, not a thing of beauty. I have collected them many times
in the past (including with ripe seed pods) but was never able
to grow them in the US. David Curtright also collected the plants
the one time he was with me, but also failed to grow them. I
have since heard that success can be had if the water is slightly
I doubt that this waterlily is at all related to the N. nouchali
that has been described in the literature. I have a working copy
of a paper written by S. W. C. Jacobs and C. L. Porter (circa
2000, to be published in the future for The Flora of Australia)
on Nymphaeaceae that has N. nouchali in it, but
with virtually no description or source location except for a
reference to Royan, P. van (1962) Nova Guinea, Botany, Number
8: 112, for an illustration. In checking this out (there is also
a photograph of N. nouchali in this reference [Plate VIII]
taken in South New Guinea. I find no resemblance to the small
waterlily I found in Australia. I would not be surprised to find
it to be a new species.
Carlos Magdalena, RBG Kew, Photo
The biggest problem with the name N. nouchali is that
it has been used in the literature for more than one species
of waterlily. Charles Masters, in his book Encyclopedia of the
Water-lily, page 336, shows that N. nouchali is one of
the synonyms for N. pubescens. Also, see Conard (The Waterlilies,
1905, page 198), Subramanyam (Aquatic Angiosperms, 1962, page
6), or Biswas and Calder (Handbook of common water and marsh
plants of India and Burma, 1936, page 11). See also Jacobs, S.W.L.
(1994) Further Notes on Nymphaea in Australasia.