Canada’s botanical jewels.
Glorious colour and a shimmering crystal effect combine on 99.99% pure silver to create a breathtaking tribute to the water lily (Nymphaea odorata), a beautiful water plant that crowns Laurentian lakes from early summer to mid-autumn with showy pink or white flowers and round green leaves that can reach up to 28 cm (11 in) in diameter.
The flower’s cup-like form is designed for a unique pollination process. Each lily blooms for only three days, opening in the morning and closing in the afternoon. On the first day, it releases a sweetsmelling fluid to attract pollen-laden insects that are washed clean and fertilize the stigmas. On the second and third days, the flower releases pollen which is carried away by insects that visit the plant. Then, the plant’s stalks recoil, pulling the flower under water where its seeds mature and are released into the lake.
Throughout North America, many First Nations communities used the water lily’s roots, leaves and flowers for medicinal purposes. Even the rhizomes, young leaves and lower buds were eaten and the seeds were fried or ground into flour.
This intriguing beauty also caught the attention of Brother Marie-Victorin (1885-1944), one of Canada’s greatest botanists and founder of Montreal’s historic Botanical Garden. He included the water lily in one of the 2,800 illustrations in his book Flore laurentienne—a monumental work that remains a cornerstone reference in university botany courses to this day.
Lotus of the north.
The water lily is related to the lotus, hailed the loveliest of flowers with powerful symbolism in cultures throughout the world. Much of this symbolism is attributed to the flower’s ability to emerge from the depths of muddy waters to bring life and beauty to the surface—an image that inspired the ancient Egyptian myth of a world created out of moisture.