Outside The New York Botanical Garden's Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are two serene courtyard pools with lotus flowers, koi fish and water lilies, including the dramatic Amazon water lily (Victoria Amazonica).

Discovered in South America in 1830, and named for Queen Victoria, the Victoria Amazonica has huge leaves that can grow up to 8 feet. These seemingly dainty paper-like trays can actually hold the weight of a child. Each plant produces 40-50 leaves with spectacular flowers that last only for about 48 hours. White female flower buds appear in early evening, pollinate, then change overnight to male pink flowers before closing.

Photos taken in August and September. nybg.org

Above: Victoria Amazonica