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China Daily: Giant Lily Pads Carry Weight of Delighted Visitors


Children sat happily on giant lily pads in a pond at the Wuhan Botanical Garden, recently. The scene, which could have been taken from a kung fu movie, attracted many tourists.
Amazon water lilies (Victoria amazonica) originated in the Amazon basin in South America. They have the largest leaves of all water plants - up to 3 meters in diameter. A full-grown lily pad can carry an adult weighing 60 to 70 kilograms.

The pond has about 40 of the water lilies, with their leaves floating on the surface - huge, green, round disks. Early in the morning, children wait in line to step on them. People stood, sat and posed for pictures. A total of 110 children took part on Saturday.

Workers said children lighter than 35 kg were allowed to participate. To ensure safety, foam boards were placed on the lily pads to decrease pressure.

The backs of the leaves are covered with sturdy veins that radiate from the center to the edge. There are also several branches off the main vein, forming a strong and intricate network that provides a powerful skeleton for support.

The leaf veins also contain highly developed respiratory tissues, which store large amounts of air. This allows each leaf to float on the water, making it capable of bearing several tens of kilograms, experts said.

The flowers of the Amazon water lily are unique too, with colors ranging from white to pink and red. The blooming period is from June to October. Most lilies in the garden are blooming now. (From China Daily)

A child sits on a giant lily pad at a pond at the Wuhan Botanical Garden in early August.(Photo by Jiang Wen/ For chinadaily.com.cn)


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