|Roxb.; concave at the top, the edge alone slightly and very obscurely lobed, and this concavity representing the stigma, destitute of central projecting column. No style nor evident stigmas.||cells, immersed in a pulpy substance and partly below the hollow, the parietes of which have reticulated funiculi, bearing 10-12 ovules;–upon the edge of this cavity, in a circle within the stamens, are situated as many very large stigmas.|
|Fruit a nearly round berry, swelling out in various places, by the growth of the seeds within, and crowned with the connivent persistent sepals.||Fruit a turbinate truncated berry, with a deep hollow disc and persistent central column, even and regular on the outside.|
We do not attempt to contrast the structure of the seeds; but the above distinctive characters are surely abundantly sufficient to prove the correctness of Dr. Lindley's views, in establishing the genus Victoria.
Descr. Aquatic? Root perennial? "large and tuberous, provided with numerous filiform, or cylindrical fibres, which abound along their whole length with air-tubes. The tuber resembles the thick rhizoma of some Aspidium, and is of a brown colour externally, white within, but when cut through the internal substance soon changes to purple," (Schomburgk in litt.). Stem none. Petioles long, terete, radical, clothed with copious prickles; "they assume a diagonal direction when the water is low, and rise with the water so as to be perpendicular, and during the floods, the leaf, as well as the petiole, is entirely submerged. Leaves (usually) floating, of prodigious size, four to six and a half feet in diameter (twelve to nineteen feet in circumference), at first oval with a deep narrow cleft or sinus at one end, in age almost exactly orbicular, peltate, plane but with a considerable depth of margin, which is two to four or five inches broad, and turned up so as to form an elevated rim, like that of a tea-tray; the upper side of this vast leaf is a full green, marked with numerous reticulations which form somewhat quadrangular areolæ; the underside deep purple, sometimes green, according to D'Orbigny, clothed with a short spongy pubescence, furnished with copious very prominent flat veins, radiating from the point of insertion of the petiole and extending to, and through the raised margin, but there becoming less elevated, till they disappear at the very edge; these are united by other deep flattened nerves, and they again by cross ones of less elevation, and all are more or less beset with prickles, varying in length, sharp and horny, subulate, that is, swollen at the base, very much like the sting of a nettle in shape.
Peduncle or scape radical, longer than the petiole and rising above the surface of the water when in flower, terete, prickly, varying in size, in the recent plant sometimes an inch thick,