World's smallest water lily, Nymphaea thermarum. Photo credit: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.Great news, everybody. The world's smallest water lily was recently rescued from the brink of extinction. Not only are these lily pads delightfully tiny (Only 1 cm in diameter), but scientists have figured out a way to reintroduce them to the world as houseplants.
This unique thermal water lily (Nymphaea thermarum) was exclusively native to the muddy banks of a Rwandan hot spring. Two years ago, they were rendered extinct due to over exploitation of their natural habitat. Scientists at the Kew Gardens acquired a few of the seeds, and after a year of trial and error, MVP horticulturalist, Carlos Magdalena, discovered the trick to ensure their survival: exposing them to the higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the air.
Magdalena told the Guardian,"This species may provide an opportunity to breed beautiful, small and compact waterlily hybrids that don't need a pond. Gardeners would love something like this, the advent of the no-waterlily." He added that they don't even need a garden - a windowsill would be just right. They can apparently be grown in a coffee mug, and are easy to maintain. Since they're partly submerged in water, you'd never have to worry about over watering.
Hmm, I smell a trend coming. To follow in the footsteps of delightful plant trends like bonsai trees, air plants and succulents, I predict that the next big thing to grace our windowsills will be miniature water lilies. Wanna make a bet? I can see it now: Delicate miniature lily pads, set afloat in decorative glass bowls or vintage coffee mugs, gracing the airy, sun-drenched prop vignettes of Martha Stewart Living and West Elm Catalogues. Save me a seat on the bandwagon.
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