This is a photo taken of the underside of a Victoria Water Lily crown. All of the Victoria Water Lilies have been removed from the pools at the Visitor Center Entrance. The center of the picture shows the hard, fleshy main stem of the plant. Secondary to that, is the white roots that supported the lily in the pot. The thick crowns were cut out while the water was still in the pools. We used a very sharp, high-tech pruning shears from the Japanese Garden. Several cuts were made to get through the heavy stem.
The top view of the cut crown shows 2 flower buds along with 2 folded, emerging pads. All of the bigger lily pads were cut off before the crowns were sliced off. Note all of the thorns. The stems, undersides of the pads, and the flower parts all have these spiny thorns. These lilies have great plant defense in the wild.
This last photo is a side view showing all of the old stems from the pads that were cut off. The most pads we had on one lily at a time this year was 15. Wind gusts of 10-15 mph can overturn the pads very easily, and this accounts for the majority of our damage.
You can look for the return of the Victoria Water Lilies to the Visitor Center pools, sometime in early June of 2012.