Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Everyone knows water lilies. You know, those plants with flat rounded green leaves that float or rise just above the water's surface and produce colorful blooms that also float on the surface or rise above the surface on a slender stem. Claude Monet created two famous paintings titled, 'Water Lilies' at a time when water lilies were especially popular for formal gardens. The combination of placid water, the reflection of clouds, or perhaps an early morning fog and the smooth oval green of lily pads punctuated with splashes of color seem irresistible. Their beauty and the tranquility of the scene with water lilies have inspired artists, poets, and dreamers of many cultures. In Chinese culture, a water lily has been likened to a man of noble character. The lotus, a distant relative of true water lilies, has been linked to creation stories and the after-life in several eastern cultures. In Florida, we have at least six native species that have been called 'water lilies' or 'lotus', including the yellow lotus, also known as the 'water chinquapin' which produces a beautiful yellow flower that can be nearly a foot in diameter, the largest flower of any native North American plant.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.