This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A lady writer from the Isle of Singapore gives the following glowing picture of tropical flowers in "Fruits and flowers of the Tropics," published in Lippincott's Monthly: "Wo gathered whole handfuls of the Lotus or Water Lily, with its pale blue, golden or rose-tinted blooms gleaming up from the sparkling waters. There are many varieties of this exquisite flower - blue, pink, carnation, bright yellow, royal purple fringed with gold, and more beautiful than all, pure virgin white, with the faintest possible rose tinge in the center of each section of the corolla, a just perceptible blush, as of its own conscious loveliness. The last is the royal flower of Siam; borne before the king at weddings, funerals, and all state festivals, and the royal reception rooms are always beautifully decorated with the young buds arranged in costly vases of exquisite workmanship. In moist portions of the jungle were whole groves of fragrant pandanus, ferns of infinite variety, a species of wild mignionette, spotless japonica, fragrant tuberose, cape jessamine, wild passion flower, the calla Indies, with its five long petals of heavenly blue, then the innumerable company of roses, tea,- moss, perpetual, cluster, climbing, variegated, and a score of others, queenly still even amid such a gorgeous array.
The Victoria Regia and Raffiesia Arnoldi, the two largest flowers in the world, we saw in Dr. A's garden - the flower of each two feet in diameter. Rarest of all was the night-blooming Cereus. There were six blooms in full maturity, creamy waxen flowers of exquisite form, the leaves of the corolla of a pale golden hue, and the petals intensely white. Its wondrous perfume is exhaled just at nightfall, and readily discernible for a mile. The odor partakes largely of that of lilies, violets, tuberose, and vanilla. It reaches perfect maturity about an hour before midnight; at three o'clock its glory is beginning to wane; at dawn it is fading rapidly; and by sunrise only a wilted, worthless wreck remains."