IWGS Annual Aquatic Plant Selections for 2008

Published on March 21, 2008

Giant Sensitive Plant - Aeschynome fluitans
Giant Sensitive Plant – Aeschynome fluitans

The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society each year selects three plants that are incomparable for their value in the water garden. By highlighting some outstanding performers, we hope to increase each pond owner’s satisfaction and enjoyment in the beauty of their pond environment. For 2008, the Society is pleased to announce the selection of Nymphaea ‘Lindsey Woods,’ Nymphaea xpygmaea ‘Rubra,’ and Giant Sensitive Plant – Aeschynome fluitans as the Aquatic Plants of the Year.

The new day-blooming tropical waterlily Lindsey Woods is of exceptional beauty. The eye-catching black buds are a prelude to the full glory of the purple blooms. The substantial flowers feature petals of glowing light purple with deep purple tips, contrasting with the bright yellow centre and purple tipped stamens. The new leaves are deep purple, with the underside virtually black, ageing to green with light red mottling. The leaves are short stemmed, so the whole plant is a compact grower, with a steady supply of large blooms all summer. It is also cold tolerant, growing well through the summer in northern regions as well as the Deep South. This tropical waterlily bred by Nelson Water Gardens is dedicated to the memory of a young Texan girl who passed away from cancer. A donation from each waterlily sold is made for cancer research in Lindsey’s name. For more information on this waterlily, go to www.nelsonwatergardens.com

The Giant Sensitive Plant, Aeschynome fluitans is a tropical marginal that is a wonder to behold – it fascinates young and old with its incredible growth in one season, spreading several feet seemingly overnight! Much larger than its look-alike Neptunia, it produces a steady supply of yellow pea-like flowers along the stems, and will even have pea-like fruits late in the season. The sturdy burgundy stems float on the surface of the pond, with attractive sprays of oval leaves appearing alternately along the hollow stem. When touched, the leaves will close slowly, however, if the vine is cut, the leaves will all go limp at once! They also close up every evening, and open in the morning light to fascinate the pond visitor once more.

The Hardy Waterlily Nymphaea X pygmaea ‘Rubra’ (sometimes known as Red Pygmy or Pygmy Rubra) is small but mighty. Not widely known in North America until recently, it blooms steadily all summer even in shade, with dainty bright red blooms about 2 inches in diameter, and leaves 3 inches in size. New leaves appear red, changing to green with red mottling as they mature. Many red waterlilies have lighter colored flowers early in the summer, however Pygmy Rubra sometimes has a few pure white flowers at the beginning of the season, then as the water warms, the new blooms rapidly reach the characteristic cherry red of this little beauty. Even in hot climates, this incredible little waterlily has great potential in container gardens, indoor ponds and shady areas, while it is a sturdy reliable performer in many climates when in full sun.

Each of the Plants of the Year for 2008 has one or more unique features which make them exceptional selections. These aquatic plants will attract attention wherever they grow and will give you great satisfaction all summer – Enjoy!

About the IWGS

The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society is a non-profit, international resource for education, research, conservation and networking, dedicated to the water garden community, professional and hobbyist alike. For information, please call 540-337-9344 or email me at execdirector@iwgs.org. See us also on the web at www.iwgs.org.

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