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Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018.
Credit: NORBERTO DUARTE/Getty Images

Gigantic lily pads have reappeared in a Paraguayan lagoon after disappearing for more than 10 years.

The impressive lily pads, which can reach a diameter of more than five feet, have not been seen since 2006 when they were listed as endangered. But they reappeared this year in the Salado River, a tributary of the Paraguay River, in a small town called Piquete Cue.

Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018.
Credit: NORBERTO DUARTE/Getty Images

The town has started offering boat rides to tourists up the river to get up close to the enormous lily pads. The lily pads have a pink and white flower in the center that blooms only for 48 hours at a time.

Known as victoria cruziana, the lily pads were believed to have disappeared due in part to dredging and tourists fishing them out of the water.

Giant water lilies in Paraguay River in Piquete Cue just north of Asuncion, on January 8, 2018.
Credit: NORBERTO DUARTE/Getty Images

"I have lived in the area since I was a child. The neighbours and I thought the plant had already become extinct, but it has returned," a local named Antonio Benítez told the Associated Press.

Locals refer to the plants as “alligator liles” because their enormous size is large enough to hide an alligator underneath. In the past, they have used it as a cure for asthma or breathing problems. But because of the plants’ endangered status, anybody caught trying to harvest the plant will be fined.

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