Hundreds turn out for rare flower opening

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At the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus gardens, the beautiful Victoria giant water lily is in bloom. As per tradition and the botanical garden, visitors are able to come during the evening to see the Victoria in all its glory. Around 1000 people did so on Monday.  The Victoria, native to the Amazon river basins, is named after Queen Victoria of England, and is also regarded as Queen of the water lilies. It is famously known for its large, round leaves that lie on top of the water like plates. The flower is prettiest during the twilight hours, because that is when it opens.

In Amsterdam, people came in droves to see the lily. For the first time in four years, the Hortus Botanicus had this popular flower on show again. According to De Telegraaf, it has been a tradition in The Netherlands for years to have the gardens open during the evening hours in the Summer for visitors because of the Victoria. But due to bad weather and other circumstances, this was not possible for the last four years. Between 900 and 1000 people came to see the flower on Monday. The Victoria grows in the Amazon. It only opens its petals in the evening. "That is why we put a cover over the Victoria in the afternoon to give the plane the idea that it is already starting to get dark", a spokesperson for the Hortus says. This allows visitors to come earlier in the evening as well. The Victoria is a unique flower. According to , the Victoria lily produces leaves that can grow up to three meters in diameter in one day. The flower is also hermaphroditic, which means that it changes from female to male overnight when in bloom, turning from white to pink. The Victoria appeared when South America was still connected to Africa, making it over 160 million years old, and older than the earliest ancestors of modern birds.

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