Nature lovers get rare chance to admire world’s smallest water lily in bloom
Visitors to Prague’s Botanical Garden in Troja have a rare chance to see the world’s smallest water lily in bloom. The plant, called Nymphaea thermarum in Latin, isn’t just tiny; it is also one of the rarest plants in the world.
Nymphaea thermarum is the world’s smallest water lily yet described, with the leaves measuring only one centimetre in diameter. By comparison, the leaves of the largest water lily, Victoria Amazonica, can reach up to three metres.
The world’s tiniest water lily was only discovered in 1987. Less than 30 years later it was considered extinct in the wild, due to the destruction of its native habitat. It was saved from extinction when it was grown from a seed at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London in 2009.
The botanical garden in Prague is one of the few places in the world where you can see the rare water lily today. Bohumil Černý, head of the garden, describes its four blooming flowers as a miracle:
“This extremely rare flower cannot be found in nature any longer. It blooms in the morning and closes its leaves at around noon. The water lily used to grow in a single hot spring in Rwanda, but its habitat was destroyed and so were these rare plants.”
January is a good time to visit Prague’s Fata Morgana greenhouse, since there are many flowers that bloom during the first month of the year. One of them is also a rare pygmy water lily that was planted here at the end of last year.