Gigantic lily pads are back in Paraguay lagoon

If Paraguay is on your bucket list, maybe you should move it to the top.

Photo: Norberto Duarte/AFP/Getty Images

Giant lily pads have reappeared in a tributary of the Paraguay River after being declared endangered a dozen years ago.

Victoria cruziana water lilies are an impressive 5-feet wide and are known to locals as “alligator lilies” because they’re so huge, they could shelter a small alligator. The plants produce large creamy-white flowers that nestle between the massive lily pads. The flowers turn pink shortly after pollination.

The environmental ministry told The Associated Press that the aquatic plants had been gradually disappearing from the river due to dredging and because visitors steal the plants.

The resurgence of the lilies has drawn tourists to the mouth of the Salado River where locals take admirers on boat rides in Piquete Cue, just north of Asuncion, to see the jaw-dropping plants.

“It’s a very beautiful natural spectacle,” Antonio Benítez, owner of a canoe, told the AP in Guarani, an indigenous language of South America. “I have lived in the area since I was a child and together with the neighborhood, we thought it had already become extinct, but it returned.”

People have been warned not to harvest the plants, which locals use to make a tea they believe can help with respiratory issues. Officials say those who try to take the plants could be fined.

“This is something that you just don’t see every day. Or even every year,” Agustin Gomez told AFP News. “You do see lily pads all the time but not so many. And not so enormous!”

This article originally appeared on Mother Nature Network.

Find a great airfare anywhere in the world.

And you’ll probably need a place to stay.

How to stay in touch and use your smartphone anywhere in Europe.

Need to rent a car? Need travel gadgets, clothes, sightseeing tickets, train tickets? Find it all and more right here.

Zoonie Travel will put together an itinerary for you for just $50 with a money back guarantee. Click here to get started.

Book tours, attractions, and activities online

If you enjoyed this post and want more, please follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

**This post contains affiliate links and Zoonie Travel will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.