Thursday, August 23, 2012

Longwood Gardens: Lilies

We went to Longwood Gardens last night to see their special exhibit: Light.  When we walked in at 7p we saw a sign that said there was a talk about lilies scheduled for 630. I wasn't upset that we missed it, but I was excited for Ross to be able to see the lilies while it was still light. I've seen the lilies a few times before, but Ross had never seen them. When we got to the lily pond area the talk was still going on. I learned a lot about the life cycle of the Victoria water lily and got to see the underside of the lily platter.
We were encouraged to poke and smell the flowers and feel the lily platter.
The underside was spiky. The experts said that the platter could hold 110lbs, but the top skin is very thin.
This is a cross-section of the Victoria lily first night bloom. Beetles are attracted to the scent (pungent frou frou cheesy) and crawl down into the flower.  The flower closes up and traps the beetles inside. On the second night the hole the beetles entered through is shut tightly, so they force their way out--and in the process are coated in pollen.  The beetles move onto another first night flower--and pollinate it.  The first night flower is white, and the second night flower is more pink--you can see one on the ground next to the lily platter in the photo above (the large open flower.)
The lily pond also has night blooming lilies. Here is the before (still daylight) photo.
Here is the same flower later on--when it was dark.


Nicole said...

Ryan and I talked about going to see the lighted night exhibition at Longwood but then we kind of forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me! We need to put that back on our to-do list, especially since summer is almost over. :-(

k. said...

Let me know when you guys are going if you want to get together. I kind of want to go again, and we have season passes. It is only about an hour from our place if you need somewhere to crash....