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Hardy viviparous plant from flower

Viviparity in the
Hardy Waterlily

Article and photos by Pairat Songpanich, Thailand
Translated to English by Guntapon Prommoon, Thailand
Edited by Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat, Thailand 

Click images to enlarge

     

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) defines "viviparous" as producing young in a living state, as with most mammals, or as with those plants the offspring of which are produced alive, either by bulbs instead of seeds or by the seeds themselves germinating on the plant instead of falling as they usually do.

For the waterlily, viviparity is the creation of plantlets on the flower for hardy and tropical night blooming waterlilies, and on the leaf in the case of tropical day blooming waterlilies. However, an exception is made for Nymphaea 'Jongkolnee', a Thai tropical day bloomer, which is different by blooming day and night and is viviparous on the flower. 

The article by Kit Knotts, "Viviparous Waterlilies" at Victoria-Adventure.org, talks about viviparity on both leaves and flowers of various waterlilies. The purpose of this article is to expand on the topic with data collected from my experiments on hardy species and cultivars that can be viviparous. The first section will be on the collection and addition of viviparous species/cultivars that have been recorded. The second section is on my unnamed hybrids that can be viviparous.

 
Tropical day bloomer
viviparous plant from leaf

 
Flower of N. 'Jongkolnee'
developing plantlets

1. Viviparity of Named Hardy Waterlilies

Information in the Water Gardeners International Checklist of Nymphaea (Waterlily) Names indicates that more than 1,800 names (Knotts, 2006, 2007, 2008) have been found in the literature. More than 1,200 are accepted species and cultivar names, but only 57 of those are recorded as viviparous. From what I have found on hardy waterlilies that can be viviparous, from the sources above, other documents, the internet and my own experiences, I can have gathered 13 viviparous hardy species and cultivars (see Table 1). 


 Table 1. List of hardy waterlilies that can be viviparous

 Viviparous species /
cultivars

 Pod Parent

 Pollen Parent

 Originator

Date of
Origin
Mexicana Group
1.  Nymphaea mexicana Zucc.  

 -

 -

 -

 -
 2. N. 'Barbara Dobbins' N. odorata  N. mexicana 

Strawn 

1996 
3. N. 'Colorado'  N. 'Louise Villemarette'   N. mexicana 

Strawn  

1994 
 4. N. 'Georgia Peach' N. 'Louise Villemarette'   N. mexicana  

Strawn  

1998 
 5. N. 'Helvola'  N. pygmaea   N. mexicana  

Latour-Marliac

1879
 6. N. 'Mangkala Ubol' N. mexicana   N. 'Perry's Fire Opal'

Chansilpa 

1997 
 7. N. 'Phoebus'  

Parentage unknown

Latour-Marliac

1909 
Colonel A.J. Welch Group
 8. N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch'

Parentage unknown  

Latour-Marliac

1929 
 9. N. 'Cherokee' N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch'   N. 'Aurora'  

Slocum 

1989 
 10. N. 'Perry's Pink Delight'  N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch'   N. 'Splendida' 

Slocum 

1990
 11. N. 'Perry's Red Star' N. 'Vèsuve'   N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch' 

Slocum 

1989 
 12. N. 'Perry's Viviparous Pink'  N. 'Perry's Pink' N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch'  

Slocum 

1990 
Other Group
13. N. 'Lily Pons' N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' N. 'Gloire du Temple sur Lot' 

Slocum  

1992 

From Table 1, the viviparous species/cultivars can be categorized into the flowing three groups by examining the pod-pollen parents.

Mexicana Group is a viviparous group with traits from N. mexicana consisting of one species (No. 1) and six cultivars (No.2 - 7). For No. 7 N. 'Phoebus', the data on pod and pollen parents does not appear, but looking at the leaf and flower of N. 'Phoebus', it can be considered to be the offspring of N. mexicana

   


N. 'Mangkala Ubol'
Colonel A.J. Welch Group is a viviparous group with traits from N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch' (Henley, 2000) consisting of four cultivars (No. 9 - 12), hybrids of N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch' and other cultivars. For N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch' (No.8), there is no evidence linking to any species but looking at the leaf and flower, it can also be considered to be the offspring of N. mexicana.  
     
Other Group consists of a viviparous cultivar not in first two groups, N. 'Lily Pons' (No.13). It is interesting and strange that there has never been information that these pod and pollen parents can achieve hybrid viviparity. The viviparity of N. 'Lily Pons' has been seen first hand by Dr. Nopchai Chansilpa (creator of N. 'Mangkala Ubol'). He brought N. 'Lily Pons' from USA to plant in Thailand in 2007 for breeding and saw viviparity on three different flowers (Chansilpa, 2007). 
   

 

Waterlilies and Lotuses: Species, Cultivars and New Hybrids (Slocum, 2005) states that hardy waterlily cultivars are "Nonviviparous", but it can be seen, though not often, that some of the cultivars can be viviparous on occasion. Examples like N. 'Barbara Dobbins', N. 'Colorado', N. 'Georgia Peach' and the case of N. 'Lily Pons' have shown over time (15 years) that they can be viviparous.

Viviparous N. 'Colorado' plantlet >


     

2. Viviparity in Pairat's Hardy Hybrids

I began hybridizing hardy waterlilies in 2003 by using various pod and pollen varieties and one of them is N. mexicana. My goal has never been to create hybrids that can be viviparous. I have created 28 hybrids of N. mexicana (elaborated in Should Nymphaea mexicana be a Pod or a Pollen Parent?) with current status in the following table (Table 2) showing that there are not viviparous hybrids among these creations.


N. mexicana
     

Table 2. The status of N. mexicana's hybrids 

 Age (years)

 Status

 Amount (Plants)

 1 - 2

Destroyed
(from the selection process to reduce
labor and costs of cultivation)  

 18

 2 - 3

  In cultivation

  6

 4

  In cultivation

  4
Total

 28

Currently I have created hybrids from various pod and pollen parents, a total of 555 plants. Viviparity has unexpectedly occurred in this group, even though there were no hybrids of N. mexicana or N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch' involved. Vivipararity has occurred in five plants (Table 3), a 0.9 % chance when calculated from all the hybrids. 

Table 3. Viviparity in Pairat's Hardy Hybrids 

 Viviparous Hybrids

 Pod Parent

 Pollen Parent

 Date of Origin
1.  Viviparous hybrid #1 N. 'Perry's Fire Opal'   N. 'Sirius'  

2005
 2.  Viviparous hybrid #2  N. 'Mayla'  N. 'Perry's Fire Opal'

2005
 3.  Viviparous hybrid #3  N. 'Mayla'  N. 'Perry's Fire Opal'

2005
 4.  Viviparous hybrid #4  Viviparous hybrid #1 (N.
'Perry's Fire Opal' x N. 'Sirius')
 N. 'Sirius'

2007
 5.  Viviparous hybrid #5  Viviparous hybrid #1 (N.
'Perry's Fire Opal' x N. 'Sirius')
 N. 'Sirius'

2007

When considering the pod and pollen parents of the hybrids from table 3, it can be seen that the five hybrids have N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' influencing the possibility of viviparity; it is the same as N. 'Lily Pons' that has N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' as the pod parent even though there has never been any vivipararity with N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' before.
     

Viviparity rarely happens in hardy waterlilies so the hope of reproduction through viviparous plants is inefficient when compared to conventional means that give faster results. This is in contrast with reproduction from leaves of viviparous tropical day bloomers, which is easy and more appropriate.

This is an update of the information on viviparous hardy waterlilies. It can be seen that viviparity does not only come from N. mexicana or N. 'Colonel A.J. Welch', but is also possible with offspring of N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' or other cultivars in the future.  


N. 'Tina'
Tropical day bloomer viviparous
from leaf, blooming in miniature

     

Illustrations of Viviparity in Pairat's Five Hardy Hybrids

N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' x N. 'Sirius'
(1 hybrid viviparous)  

 Viviparous hybrid #1
(Sibling of N. 'Tan-khwan')

 

Normal flower of hybrid #1 


22 days

 Viviparous flower of hybrid #1
 

 Can be divided into four plantlets

N. 'Mayla' x N. 'Perry's Fire Opal'
(2 hybrids viviparous) 

 Viviparous hybrid #2
(Sibling of N. 'Miss Siam')

 Viviparous hybrid #3
(Sibling of N. 'Miss Siam')

 

 

 Normal flower of hybrid #2

 Normal flower of hybrid #3

 

 

 Viviparous flower of hybrid #2

 Viviparous plantlet from the flower of hybrid #3

Viviparous hybrid #1 (N. 'Perry's Fire Opal' x N. 'Sirius') x N. 'Sirius'
(2 hybrids viviparous) 

 Viviparous hybrid #4

 Viviparous hybrid #5

 

 

 Normal flower of hybrid #4

 Normal flower of hybrid #5

 

 Multiple flowers and viviparous plantlets of hybrid #4

 Viviparous plantlet from the flower of hybrid #5

 

 Four flowers in one peduncle and viviparous plantlets of hybrid #4

 

More about Viviparous Hybrid #3

In April of 2007, viviparous hybrid #3, clustered in a big set, achieved viviparity in five different flowers at the same time. Closer observation suggested that flowers that were viviparous were usually strange and crippled, reproducing on the day of blooming. The viviparity of this hybrid happened only once and has never happened again. 


 

 

 Viviparous flower of hybrid #3/1

Viviparous flower of hybrid #3/2 

 

 

 Viviparous flower of hybrid #3/3

 Viviparous flower of hybrid #3/4

 

   Viviparous flower of hybrid #3/5

     

References:

Chansilpa, N. 2007. Viviparous Phenomenal in Waterlilies. Journal of the Society for Ornamental Plants of Thailand. 32(2): 18-19, 24. (in Thai)

Henley, R. 2000. 'Colonel A.J. Welch'. Pond&Garden. 1(6): 58-61.

Knotts, K. 2003. Viviparous Waterlilies. www.victoria-adventure.org.

Knotts, K. 2006. Water Gardeners International Checklist of Nymphaea (Waterlily) Names. Water Gardeners International, Inc. Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA. 188p.

Knotts, K. 2007. Water Gardeners International 2007 Supplement to the Registry & Checklist of Nymphaea (Waterlily) Names. Water Gardeners International, Inc. Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA. 33p.

Knotts, K. 2008. Water Gardeners International 2008 Supplement to the Registry & Checklist of Nymphaea (Waterlily) Names. Water Gardeners International, Inc. Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA. 26p.

Slocum, P.D. 2005. Perry's Water Gardens. www.perryswatergardens.net.

Slocum, P.D. 2005. Waterlilies and Lotuses: Species, Cultivars and New Hybrids. Timber Press, Inc. Portland, Oregon, USA. 260p.

     

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