The Lotus Flower
Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera
Lotus flowers are aquatic perennials native to Asia that can be found growing in marshes, lagoons, ponds and flooded fields. They can also be cultivated in water gardens, for those that have the space. These plants can grow up to 5 feet in height and can spread up to 10 ft. across! The roots are planted firmly in the soil of the pond. The large green leaves are so highly repellent, the phenomenon has been called “the lotus effect.” Thick stems hold up the large showy flowers, which can be up to 8 inches in diameter. The flowers can be white, yellow or pink. Lotus flowers open for 3 days and some change colours during that time.
Lotus flowers are often confused with water lilies, as they both look similar. But the most notable difference is the center of the flowers. The water lily does not have a “seed pod” like the one on a lotus flower. As well, the water lily leaves float on the water surface, while the lotus leaves rise above the water level.
Fun Facts about the lotus flower
- It’s the national flower of India and Vietnam.
- The flowers are hermaphrodites, having both female and male organs
- The flowers, seeds, young leaves and roots are all edible
- The seed heads are often used for flower arranging and decorative purposes
- The lotus is used in Asian traditional herbal medicine practices
- In Buddhism, the lotus represents the purity and divinity
- In Hinduism, the louts is associated with beauty, fertility, spirituality and eternity
- Korea, China and Japan all have Lotus Festivals, celebrating the beauty of this flower
- There is a song called “Lotus Flower” by Radiohead