It wasn't the degree in engineering from Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute that sparked his interest in waterlilies but, rather, a minor in Botany and a forgotten Blue Star lily in a kiddie pool in the garage.
"There was this big flower standing straight up above the surface, and the entire garage was fragrant with a real fruity fragrance. I was hooked from then on."
Ken Landon, owner and manager of San Angelo's International Waterlily Collection at Civic League Park, was hooked.
It was his lily, Texas Dawn, created in 1983, that was brought to the attention of the Texas Legislature by Represenative Drew Darby.
House Concurrent Resolution No. 24 proposed that the hybrid Nymphaea, Texas Dawn, be named the official state waterlily of the State of Texas.
H.C.R. No. 24
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The State of Texas traditionally has recognized a variety of official symbols as tangible representations of the proud character and colorful heritage of the Lone Star State; select plant varieties, including the bluebonnet and the prickly pear cactus, have received official recognition, which has served to draw attention to the great biological diversity of our landscape; and
WHEREAS, Texas supports not only an abundance of land-based plants but also many aquatic species, and one particular type of waterlily comes to the forefront as an especially worthy symbol of the state: Nymphaea Texas Dawn; and
WHEREAS, A hardy and exceptionally lovely plant, Nymphaea Texas Dawn is a hybrid that was created in 1985 by Texas resident Kenneth Landon, a world-renowned expert in the field of Nymphaea and the director of the International Waterlily Collection in San Angelo; described as one of the most stunning yellow waterlilies to be introduced in more than a century, N. Texas Dawn frequently blooms 10 inches above the surface of the water in clusters of six or more; in early spring, the base of the petals produces a light orange glow, and in late summer and fall, the flowers may suffuse with pink; and
WHEREAS, In 1990, N. Texas Dawn received the American Award from the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society (IWGS); more recently, it was accorded top ranking among aquatic plants in the rigorous Texas Superstar program of the Texas Cooperative Extension of Texas A&M University, and the species is listed by other hybridizers as a parent for more than a dozen named waterlilies; and
WHEREAS, N. Texas Dawn has been featured prominently at the International Waterlily Collection in San Angelo, which was established by Mr. Landon in 1988 in a little-used pond in Civic League Park; in the years since, the collection has become recognized as one of the most important exhibits of its kind in the world, and it was the focal point of the 2010 symposium of the IWGS; the presence of this widely admired facility has given Texas great prominence among water gardening enthusiasts, and it makes the designation of N. Texas Dawn as the state waterlily all the more appropriate; and
WHEREAS, This noteworthy species is the first waterlily to be named for Texas, and its unique beauty and resilient character indeed make it a fitting symbol for the Lone Star State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 82nd Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate Nymphaea Texas Dawn as the official State Waterlily of Texas.
Nymphaea hybrid Texas Dawn became the official state waterlily when Governor Rick Perry signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 24 on June 17, 2011.
The longhorn was named the official large state mammal of the State of Texas by House Concurrent Resolution and is not, therefore, listed in the Texas Statutes.
Only a small number of Texas' myriad symbols have been actually adopted by an act of the legislature and written into the Texas Statutes.
Darby, Drew. The State of Texas. Texas Legislature. 82(R) History for HCR 24. Austin: , 2011. Print.
Padilla, Eva. "Local waterlily named state symbol." San Angelo Standard Times 15 Sep 2011, n. pag. Web. 10 Sep. 2012. [No Longer Available].
For Waterlilies, an Odd Refuge in Texas: September 14, 2011 article by Anne Raver, New York Times.
International Waterlily Collection: Official website of the International Waterlily Association, San Angelo, Texas.
International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society: Official website of the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS).
Nymphaea L. waterlily: USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 25 March 2013). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
Nymphaea L.: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.
Nymphaea L. - Waterlily: A network connecting science with conservation - NatureServe Explorer: An Online Encyclopedia of Life.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
Waterlilies and Lotuses: Species, Cultivars, and New Hybrids, by Perry D. Slocum. 260 pages. Publisher: Timber Press (February 2, 2005)
Perry Slocum describes nearly 500 species and cultivars of the crowning jewels of water gardens, the waterlilies and lotuses. This book includes more than 130 of the best new hybrids introduced since the landmark Water Gardening: Water Lilies and Lotuses by Perry Slocum and Peter Robinson was published. All species and the major cultivars, including day- and night-blooming tropical and hardy waterlilies and lotuses, are described along with the author's and hybridizers' comments on the best landscape uses for each plant. Waterlilies and Lotuses is illustrated with 350 stunning color photographs of these exotic beauties, with more than 100 photos published here for the first time. With information on hardiness, including maps for Europe and the United States, and an extensive list of suppliers of water gardening plants and equipment in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, Waterlilies and Lotuses is a truly definitive resource for water gardeners the world over.
Encyclopedia of Water Garden Plants, by Greg Speichert and Sue Speichert. 388 pages. Publisher: Timber Press (April 15, 2004)
Encyclopedia of Water Garden Plants is the definitive photographic reference to the full range of plants available to the water gardener. This volume includes hundreds of water garden plants often overlooked in other books, such as marginal plants, floating plants, bog plants, and submerged plants. Of course, waterlilies and lotuses are described in detail as well. The encyclopedia offers complete information on hardiness, culture, propagation, and pests and diseases.