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Vintage Giant Water Lily (Victoria Amazonica) Illustrations

This is a collection of free printable vintage giant water lily (Victoria Amazonica) illustrations and drawings. It has also been called the Victoria Regia great water lily.

Not just because they are the warmest places, but whenever I visit Kew Gardens, I always make a beeline for the tropical palm and water lily houses.  I love tropical plants they remind me of my childhood. 

Completed in 1852, the water lily house is full of stunning aquatic plants. Including the Victoria Amazonica, the world’s largest water lily and the biggest showstopper of them all. 

The giant lily pads can grow up to 2.5m in diameter.  The plant produces large white to pink flowers. The blooms have a sweet pineapple-like fragrance to attract beetles.

One of the first people to successfully grow a giant water lily was the renowned gardener Joseph Paxton. His daughter Alice, was actually drawn standing on a giant lily pad, for the newspaper (see below). And the plant’s ribbed leaves were his key inspiration for the design of Crystal Palace, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Alice on Giant Water Lily Pad

An early 20th century postcard of the inside of the Water Lily house at Kew Gardens.

Water-lily-house kew gardens

Facts About the Giant Water Lily (Victoria Amazonica)

  • First discovered in Bolivia in 1801, the plant was originally called Eurgale Amazonica.
  • However, in 1837 John Lindley decided to change the name of the plant to Victoria Amazonica, in honour of the British monarch at the time, Queen Victoria.
  • At Kew, the giant water lily is a hand-pollinated annual plant.  In the wild, it’s a perennial plant, pollinated by a beetle.
  •  Air trapped in the spaces between the ribs on the underside of the giant lily pad leaves makes them very buoyant.  They can hold the weight of a small child.
  • The lily pad has open notches on the side which are used to drain excess water collected on the top.
  • To protect the plant from being eaten by fish, there are sharp spikes on the underside of the leaves.
  • The seeds and stalks of giant water lilies are edible.
  • The plant originally grew in the stagnant water of the Amazon region. Cultivated lilies require a water temperature of 27 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Giant Water Lily Illustrations

The Giant Water Lily (Victoria Amazonica) Illustrations & Drawings

To download the giant lily drawing you want, click on the title above that illustration. A higher resolution image will open in a new browser window. Click on that image and you will have the option to print and save it.

All the illustrations and drawings here are in the Public Domain. This means that you are free to use them how you wish to.

1. Photograph Of Water Lilies

A 1905 photograph of Giant water lilies in the botanical gardens, Budapest.

Amazonica Victoria

2. Guiana Giant Water Lilies

Giant water lily illustrations from the Welcome collection, London. It is the national flower of Guiana.

Giant water lilies on lake

3. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine

Victoria Amazonica by William Hooker Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, 1847.

Curt's Botanical Magazine

4. Flower Close Up

A close up waterlily flower botanical illustration of the same edition of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine above.

Flower close up

5. Victoria Amazonica Bud

Another close up drawing of the Victoria Amazonica from the above magazine.

Victoria Amazonica Bud

6. Botanical Illustration of Seed Pod

A botanical illustration of the flowers seed pod from Curtis’s Magazine 1847.

botanical illustration of seed pod

Victoria Regia Illustrations

The following six giant waterlily illustrations are from the book “Victoria regia, or, The great water lily of America? with a brief account of its discovery and introduction into cultivation /with illustrations by William Sharp, from specimens grown at Salem, Massachusetts … by John Fisk Allen“. Published in 1854.

7. Giant Waterlily Leaf Growth Cycle

Giant waterlily leaves illustration

8. Opening Flower

Giant waterlily illustrations flower opening

9. Underside of lily pad leaf

Illustration of the underside of giant waterlily pad

10. 2 Giant Waterlilies in Bloom

2 Giant waterlilies in bloom

11. Large Victoria Amazonica Flower Head

Victoria Amazonica Flower Head

12. Flower Bud and Lily Pad

13. Giant Water Lilies in A Lake

A botanical illustration of giant water lilies in a tropical lake. From the Welcome collection, London.

Giant water lilies (Victoria amazonica) in a tropical lake.

14. Victoria Regia Large Flower

A coloured lithograph by W. Fitch,1845, of a giant water lily flower. From the Welcome Collection.

Giant water lily (Victoria amazonica): an expanded flower

15. Entire Floating Plant

Entire flowering plant with floating leaves. Coloured lithograph by W. Fitch, c. 1845

Giant water lily (Victoria amazonica): entire flowering plan

16. Giant Water Lily Dissection

Giant water lily (Victoria amazonica) dissection illustration of twenty-one different anatomical segments of the plant. Coloured lithograph by W. Fitch, c. 1845.

Giant water lily dissection

17. The Flower of A Giant Water Lily

The flower of a giant water lily (Victoria amazonica). Coloured lithograph, c. 1850, by C. Rosenberg. From the Welcome Collection.

The flower of a giant water lily (Victoria amazonica).

Don’t forget there are many more vintage flower illustrations on the site. These include other impressive species, such as sunflower drawings, passionflower illustrations and peony paintings.

For more tropical botanical illustrations, check out the palm tree illustrations and cactus paintings.