Truly NamedWGI © Water Gardeners International
Turning the Tide Against Waterlily Identity Theft Text by Charles B. Thomas PowerPoint Presentation by Kit Knotts Identity Problems Since the waterlily is the highlight of your pond, it is essential that you get what you pay for. When you purchase a particular color, shape or type and it turns out to be something else, you have every right to be disappointed.
The cheap and fast-multiplying Nymphaea mexicana is not what you want when you pay a premium price for . . . Nymphaea mexicana Werner Wallner Photo
. . . the prized and more expensive miniature N. ‘Helvola’. Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’ Werner Wallner Photo
Even worse, when you buy a waterlily with the well-known name N. ‘Joey Tomocik’ on its label, it proves not to be what you selected and paid for, you are not simply disappointed, but possibly defrauded. You have been unwillingly subjected to a case of waterlilyidentity theft. Nymphaea ‘Joey Tomocik’ Kit Knotts Photo
Perhaps you are satisfied with any waterlily, even though it is not labeled correctly, as long as it is pretty but you should not be. Kit Knotts puts it this way, “Would you be happy if you received a garment in the wrong color or size? No! You would take action! You would return it and, at the least, you would expect an apologetic attitude together with a prompt exchange or refund. If a seller made errors repeatedly, would you continue to buy there? Why should it be any different with your waterlily supplier?”
In other words, if you received the prolific and cheap Nymphaea mexicana when you paid apremium for the more expensive N. ‘Sunrise’ . . . Nymphaea ‘Sunrise’ Kit Knotts Photo
. . . or N. ‘Mangkala Ubol’, you rightfully would feel cheated. Nymphaea ‘Mangkala Ubol’ Kit Knotts Photo
When you buy a waterlily labeled “yellow”, it should bloom yellow. You may pay a slight premium for a correctly labeled named waterlily, but good reasons why exist. A named waterlily displays specific, unique characteristics, special qualities that made it worthy of naming. No other waterlily is quite like it, but each plant that carries the name must be identical. Growers produce new plants by dividing mature plants or by growing them from tubers of the original, assuring exact duplicates. Many excellent waterlily sellers provide only plants grown as described above. But . . .
Unfortunately, many uninformed and/or unscrupulous and/ordownright dishonest sellers tempt water gardeners with knockoffs or incorrectly labeled waterlilies at cheap prices. They attachwell-known plant names to unknown or less popular varieties,sometimes through ignorance but usually for profit. NotNymphaea gigantea blue form Kit Knotts Photo
Nymphaea gigantea blue form Rich Sacher Photo
NotNymphaea ‘Missouri’ Kit Knotts Photo
Nymphaea ‘Missouri’ Kit Knotts Photo
Nymphaea ‘Missouri’ Kit Knotts Photo
Beyond the fact that this is wrong, consider some practical aspects. Knowing the correct name of a lily allows you to obtain information about its habit and cultivation. Is it suitable for your climate? Is its size right for your pond? Does it require any special care to do its best? Is it notoriously difficult or especially easy? Correctly named waterlilies have a history and a proven record of distinct qualities. Misinformed or unscrupulous dealers offer N. ‘Leopardess’ in various forms . .
NotNymphaea ‘Leopardess’ Jessica Clements Photo
Only one form qualifies for the N. ‘Leopardess’ name. All others withthis name steal it – cases of identity theft. When you pay the pricefor N. ‘Leopardess’, you should receive the real thing, not a fakeimitation with different characteristics. Nymphaea ‘Leopardess’ Perry D. Slocum Photo
For several years up to 2006, some e-retailers offered Craig Presnell’s marvelous N. ‘Serendipity’ (2001 IWGS/RHS Banksian Medal winner) on their sites. Asked specifically about positive correct identification, they (falsely) confirmed correctness. Craig never released his unique winner. Therefore, how could any e-retailer truthfully have it to sell?
Nymphaea ‘Serendipity’ Craig Presnell Photo
Accidental misidentification of waterlilies can happen. Sometimes ina busy nursery, waterlilies lose their labels and then receive incorrectlabels from insufficiently trained (in waterlily ID) seasonal help.
Fertilized flowers can produce seeds which sproutnew plants without any labeling, and then can receivean incorrect label. Seedlings different from theparent show in this image.
Diversity of seedlings from a single hybridization by Pairat Songpanich, Thailand X Nymphaea ‘Mayla’ Nymphaea ‘Madame Wilfron Gonnère’
Consider the range of flower diversity that a single planned cross between two waterlilies can produce. Renowned Thai photographer and waterlily hybridizer Pairat Songpanich carefully documented thirty distinctly different offspring from a single cross of two waterlilies, N. ‘Mayla’ (pod parent) and N. ‘Madame Wilfron Gonnère’ (pollen parent). You can readily understand that bees and other insects can cause serious identity problems for a waterlily grower who is not diligent about being alert for unintended seedlings. The same problem can occur in the crowded tanks or ponds of retailers.
Remember, even though numerous hybrids produce sterileflowers, chance seedlings do appear frequently. Manywaterlilies, especially night blooming tropicals, produce fertileblossoms that readily reproduce, but not true to type. NotNymphaea ‘Red Flare’ Kit Knotts Photo
Nymphaea ‘Red Flare’ Kit Knotts Photo
Identity Solutions During the mid-nineteenth century, three leading US waterlilygrowers jointly addressed the need for correct identification andlabeling of their plants. These discerning producers also hadto double as retailers for their own production. In those timeslocal nurseries refused to be bothered with aquatic plants.
Charles Tricker (Tricker’s), Dr. G. L. Thomas, Jr. (Lilypons Water Gardens, then Three Springs Fisheries), and Perry D. Slocum (Slocum Water Gardens) met annually in Saddle River, NJ, Adamstown, MD, or Binghamton, NY, to discuss water garden matters. They always walked around their premises making sure that all agreed on waterlily identification. These invigorating annual meetings inspired the 1984 formation of the Water Lily Society (IWGS).
Dr. G.L. Thomas Jr. Perry D. Slocum Charles Tricker
The nurserymen consulted respected texts, especially Henry S. Conard’s The Waterlilies, a monograph of the genus nymphaea. In 1974, Charles O. Masters published his Encyclopedia of thewater-lily that describes and color-illustrates more cultivars in asingle book than any previous work.
With Peter Robinson in 1996, Perry Slocum wrote Water Liliesand Lotuses. Perry followed this in 2005 with another outstandingidentity aid, Waterlilies and Lotuses. IWGS Earlier, in 1993, released its Identification of Hardy Nymphaea.
Kit Knotts made a huge advance with publication of the WaterlilyImage Galleries and Names List found on the partner Victoria-Adventure and Water Gardeners International web sites.Today over 1,700 names populate the Names List. Waterlily Image Galleries and Names Lists
In early 2006, WGI’s members voted waterlily identity theft as their top water gardening concern. Kit, Rich Sacher, and Craig Presnell, with help from others, developed Truly Named
Many excellent waterlily sellers provide only plants grown as accurately described in WGI’s Official International Checklist of Nymphaea (Waterlily) Names. Unfortunately, many uninformed and/or unscrupulous and/or downright dishonest sellers tempt water gardeners with knockoffs or incorrectly labeled waterlilies at cheap prices. They attach well-known plant names to unknown or less popular varieties, sometimes through ignorance, but usually for profit. Beyond the fact that this is wrong, consider some practical aspects. As stated earlier, knowing the correct name of a lily allows you to obtain specific information about it. Is it suitable for your climate? Is its size right for your pond? Does it require any special care to do its best? Is it notoriously difficult or especially easy? Correctly named waterlilies have documented characteristics and a proven performance record. Truly NamedWGI©, the truth-in-labeling program of Water Gardeners International, publishes a Directory of growers, wholesalers and retailers who pledge to sell true to name waterlilies. Many provide images and provenance linked from the Directory.
Check to see if your waterlilies are correctly named. Look in the encyclopedic waterlily Image Galleries and the extensive lists of Named Waterlilies on WGI/V-A sites. Recognized waterlily experts continually review and update the lists. You, the buyer, are the force that can stop waterlily identity theft. By learning as much as you can about the lilies you have and those you want to have, by insisting on correct labeling and complaining when you don't receive it, by letting WGI know about your experiences whoever the seller, you benefit yourself and everyone who loves water gardening.
Truly Named www.WaterGardenersInternational.org