No, I’m not changing my theme to Monty Python (though wouldn’t that be fun?!). I am going to talk about the use of water and underwater plants in miniature settings.
Last year I used a bowl of lemna in my Hawaiian museum setting. I think it was very effective as an unusual presentation of plant material.
In the magical world of Harry Potter, there is one water plant in particular that is well know. In the 4th book in the series, Harry participated in the Triwizard tournament. One of the tasks is to dive into a lake and rescue something. Harry needed to be able to breathe underwater for one hour. In the book Dobby the house elf gives him an underwater plant called gillyweed (in the movie it is Neville Longbottom who provides that information). So my task is to build a small aquarium that can grow an underwater plant that can stand in for gillyweed (see my next entry for other magical plants I need to imitate).
First I needed to see what plants could grow easily and I now have two aquariums with filters and several bowls of plants in still water. I am getting the plants at pet stores but plan to order some nicer ones online.
Some of the candidates are first the dwarf hair grass, which stays alive in almost any underwater setting:
But it seems to me this is too fine a leaf to pass as gillyweed. It does however grow well without an aquarium filter. Next is the Telanthera cardinalis which grows nicely but I think the red color won’t work:
This Cryptocoryne wendtii may work with its swordlike fronds but I have only one plant that has survived even though it is supposed to be easy to grow:
I think the choice will be Bacopa caroliniana which grows profusely, enough even for the Creature from the Black Lagoon to hide in.
[…] Gillyweed was explained in a previous blog but to summarize, it is a water plant that Harry uses to be able to breathe underwater for one hour in the Triwizard tournament. We don’t see the plant in the movie or book but we do see the slimy parts that Harry has to swallow: […]