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Kew Gardens Botanists Discover World's Largest Waterlily Is New Species

The new botanical discovery is a member of the genus Victoria, the famous giant waterlily genus named after Britain's Queen Victoria in 1852. Until now, there have only been two known species of giant waterlily, but the new species makes it three. Specimens of the new species, Victoria boliviana, have been sitting in Kew's Herbarium for 177 years and in the National Herbarium of Bolivia (NHB) for 34 years. During this time, it was commonly believed to be Victoria amazonica. However, after years of investigation, a team from Kew and the NHB have finally been able to confirm it as a new scientific species. With flowers that turn from white to pink and bearing spiny petioles, its leaves growing as wide as 3 metres in the wild. Scientists from Kew also analysed the DNA of V. boliviana and found it was genetically very different from the other two species. The new giant waterlily can now be seen in the Waterlily House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens. Kew is the only place in the world where you can see the three described species of Victoria together side by side.