Carol Klein's Plant Odysseys

Water Lily

Series 1 - Episode 4 Water Lily



Carol Klein’s theatrical style of presentation and natural ebullience have clearly put some viewers off this series, which is a shame because she’s impressively knowledgeable about the evolution of flowers.

She concludes her investigations by studying the most primitive of all flowers - waterlilies. They’re like a living fossil although in Korea lotus flowers and waterlilies are part of daily and religious life, revered and celebrated every year in a fabulous festival. But in the Isle of Wight even she is rendered almost speechless at the sight of massive, prehistoric-looking waterlily leaves. The night-time sequence of the flowers blooming is spectacular.


Carol takes a look at history and development of the water lily, a plant of unlikely economic importance, spiritual significance and artistic inspiration. She meets a leading experts in water-lily breeding to find out about a plant-insect relationship that brings about a dramatic overnight colour and sex change, and learns about its unique prehistoric pollinating system. She also visits South Korea and takes part in a festival held in honour of the lotus, a close relative of the water lily that is revered by Buddhist monks. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Carol Klein
Executive Producer Caroline Hawkins
Executive Producer KC Lee
Series Director Jonathan Barker