For Better View, Always Click on the Picture You Like...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Amazon Queen of Beauty: Vitória Régia

Picture taken by Daniel Manary
This is the Queen of the Amazon Forest. The species has very large leaves, up to 3 m in diameter, that float on the water's surface on a submerged stalk, 7–8 m in length. The species was once called Victoria regia after Queen Victoria, but the name was superseded. V. amazonica is native to the shallow waters of the Amazon River basin, such as oxbow lakes and bayous. It is depicted in the Guyanese coat of arms. The flowers are white the first night they are open and become pink the second night. They are up to 40 cm in diameter, and are pollinated by beetles.

Brazilian legend

Analyses. Chromolithograph from Victoria_Regia, Fitch 1851
Legend has it that, a long time ago, the Tupis-Guaranis, indigenous people from Northern Brazil, told that every night, when the moon hid behind the hills far off on the horizon, it was going to live together with its favorite young ladies. They used to say that, if the moon could like one single girl, it would transform her into a star of the sky.

One princess, Pajé's daughter (Pajé being a significant figure of the indigenous people), was impressed with that story. So, at night, when everybody was sleeping and the moon was traveling across the sky, the princess wanted to be a star, so she walked up to the hills and chased the moon, hoping the moon could see her up in the hills.

And so she did, every night, for a very long time.
Victoria amazonica "in natura", at a tributary creek near Manaus.
But the moon did not seem to notice her, even though the crying of the princess could be heard in the distance as well as her sadness and sighs.

One night, the princess saw, in the clear waters of a lake, the image of the moon. The innocent girl wondered if the moon had come down to take her away, so she jumped in the deep waters to join the moon and its lovely young ladies. She was never seen again.

The moon, in return for the beautiful princess's sacrifice, transformed her into a different star, different from the all the others whose light lit up the night sky. So, the moon transformed the princess into a "Star of the Waters", whose flower is the "Vitória Régia".

At that moment, a new plant was born, whose scented white flowers blossom and unfurl only at night. And, when the sun appears in the early morning, the flowers change their color to soft pink.

Text Source: Victoria Amazonica Wikipedia

No comments: