Lily leaf unfolding at Centenary Lakes at Cairns Botanic Gardens

Cairns Botanical Gardens created the Centenary Lakes from coastal swampland in 1975.  One lake is freshwater and fringed by Melaleuca (Paperbark) wetland; and the other is saltwater fed by a tidal inlet. These beautiful lakes have matured over the years to provide habitats for many plants and creatures but the lilies and aquatic plants are outstanding.

These photographs show some of the lovely water lily and other floating leaves. At the time of my visit, some of the larger leaves, well over a metre in diameter, were exhibiting various stages of development, emerging from the water and unfolding – changing shape and changing texture – from an intricately crumpled and in-folded form to a smoother rounder shape. The under surfaces were a mass of spikes while even the upper surfaces were studded with a regular pattern of red thorns.


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