Waterlily Supports Baby

image Marco sends along this photo of a baby supported by a Victoria amazonica, a giant waterlily from South America. He writes:
The Leiden Hortus Botanicus grows Victoria amazonica in one of their greenhouses. So what better way for the Hortus Botanicus to get some publicity than to organize a photoshoot for mothers with their babies, having the latter posing on one of such Victoria amazonica leaves?
Apparently however, they were not so sure themselves about the myth that the leaves can support the weight of a child. Take a careful look at the attached photograph from the local newspaper "Leids Nieuwsblad" reporting on the photoshoot. What's that under the leaf? Doesn't it look like a hidden support?
Yes, based on this picture it does look like they placed a support beneath the lily to distribute the weight of the child, which seems to be cheating. After all, the weight of the lily is now being supported by the piece of foam board (or whatever it is) rather than vice versa. They should have placed the board on top of the lily.

Birth/Babies Photos

Posted on Mon Sep 18, 2006


Feed me, Seymour
Posted by Seymour Butz  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  10:37 AM
Lilypons, a water gardening catalog had a couple pictures of a child on one of the Victoria lillies from an early 1900 catalog. Given the size of the pad and the fact that the edges turn up 3 to 4 inches, I do believe the pictures were legit. It is unfortunate that the photo in this case does show support when most likely no support would have been necessary.
Posted by Scott  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  01:59 PM
I've set full beer cans upon regular 12-14" lily pads on lakes from a boat, and they can support them... so, i figure it's legit as well.
Posted by kvuo  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  03:20 PM
Wow, if that is a support, they didn't do a very good job hiding it, did they? I don't know that much about the lilies, but I do think that is some kind of support.
Posted by Archibold  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  04:28 PM
This plant, also known as the Giant Amazon Water lily, is well-known for having the largest leaves of any plant in the world. The original scientific description was done in the 19th century by a Brit who named it for the then-queen of England, hence "Victoria." I doubt that Queen Victoria herself ever saw one.

Anyhow, to get back to the subject, it is often written that even a grown man (probably one lighter than me, though) can walk across the huge pads of this lily. I'm sure one would have no problem supporting a baby. I don't know why those clowns put something under the lily pad for that photo; maybe they just chickened out.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Buffalo Bayou, Texas  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  04:30 PM
Many years ago, I saw a photo similar to this in National Geographic. In that specific photo a man (a photographer or writer for the magazine) and his wife are in the water with their small baby sitting on one of these water lily leaves.
Posted by RainOubliette  in  Pennsylvania  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  04:36 PM
I actually thought that those lillies had sharb barbed hooks underneath each pad, so perhaps the board has something to do with that? More safety as opposed to support - Ive also noticed the tops of the lillies are kinda gross, and in this picture, the baby is sitting on a black mat? So shes' really not sitting on the lily at all, but rather what seems to be a combination of foam, lily and padding...

Ive heard they're strong - But why even bother trying something like that?
Posted by Joshua  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  04:56 PM
It does seem that the baby is sitting on an air mattress. Clearly another campaign lie by Karl Rove designed to demonstrate that Democrats would just let the baby fall in the water.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Mon Sep 18, 2006  at  08:48 PM
It's probably there so that they aren't accused of being negligent by putting the baby directly onto the lilly without any kind of safety.
Posted by Soldant  on  Tue Sep 19, 2006  at  12:40 AM
Of course, it might also have been to protect the plant itself from damage - the description sounds like it was baby after baby, so I'd imagine the risk to the plant would be quite real even if the risk to the babies was not.
Posted by outeast  in  Prague  on  Tue Sep 19, 2006  at  02:49 AM
Well...think about something like this...If you have one of those inflatable rafts in your pool...you probably do REALLY well, when you lounge out it. Fully body across the thing...BUT, if you try to sit up, or scoot to one side - you go over, the raft bends in half...etc.

It's just a matter of weight distribution. The same reason you lie down on ice, or quicksand, or wear huge ass snow shoes..the weight needs to be properly distributed to keep you in place. A tiny baby butt is probably not all that easy to "distribute". They may also have been worried about a baby-roll...flipping the pad, or letting water in that would cause it to sink.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Sep 19, 2006  at  10:17 AM
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