Inside the Waterlily House
Outside the Main Gates on Kew Green
Explore Kew Gardens - Virtual Tour
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On viewing this gigantic aquatic plant, Victoria amazonica, one enthusiast exclaimed that it was "worth going the length of the Kingdom to see". Kew's Director, Sir William Hooker, was determined to acquire seeds of it from South America. Several despatches of seeds failed to germinate until 1849 when Kew succeeded in raising half a dozen seedlings. One was given to the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth where it bloomed in November 1849. The following year it flowered at Kew. This Waterlily House was built in 1852 to accommodate it.