A new species of giant water lily has been discovered
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
Botanists have identified a new species of giant water lily big enough for two people to sit and float on its lily pad.
CARLOS MAGDALENA: They look a little bit like a giant frying pan, if you like.
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
A giant, green frying pan. Carlos Magdalena is one of the researchers who broke with the scientific thinking that there were only two species of giant water lilies.
MAGDALENA: They are quite difficult to collect in the wild because explorers - if they are working in the forest and they see one 1 kilometer away in the middle of a lake, it's a bit of a drama to get there.
MARTÍNEZ: But Magdalena began growing specimens in a place where they'd be a little easier to reach and observe - at Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. And he noticed that some of them produced different lily pads, flowers and seeds.
MAGDALENA: Everywhere you look in the plant, you can find the difference.
FADEL: Magdalena credits a childhood fascination with water lilies for making it all possible.
MAGDALENA: Utterly obsessing is fantastic when you get obsessed with doing something fantastic.
FADEL: That fantastic discovery is a brand-new species now known as Victoriana boliviana.
MARTÍNEZ: And Magdalena says every time you discover a new species, it makes it possible for conservationists to protect them.
(SOUNDBITE OF NIFTY EARTH'S "PINECREST") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.