The Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) symbolizes purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility, wealth, richness, knowledge and serenity.
otuses are found in white and pink colors in general and they grow in shallow and murky waters. Lotus flowers enjoy warm sunlight and are intolerant to cold weather. This is why, the Lotus is not seen blossoming in the winter. The floating leaves and Lotus flowers have long stems, which contain air spaces to maintain the buoyancy. The Lotus is native to Asia and flourishes in a wide range of climates from India to Vietnam.
The Lotus plant is an aquatic perennial, native to southern Asia and Australia, and most commonly cultivated in water gardens. The plant has its roots firmly in the mud and sends out long stems to which their leaves are attached. The leaves are sometimes, and Lotus flowers always, raised above the water surface. The beautiful and fragrant Lotus flower opens in the morning and petals fall in the afternoon.
The Lotus is a sacred flower for Buddhists.
The Lotus flower is quoted extensively in Puranic and Vedic literature.
The Lotus is one of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism – an eight petalled lotus used in Buddhist mandalas symbolizes cosmic harmony, a thousand petalled Lotus, spiritual illumination. A bud symbolizes potential. The well known Buddhist mantra, “Om mane padme,” refers to the jewel in the lotus, enlightenment.
In Egyptian mythology, the Lotus is associated with the sun, because it bloomed by day, and closed by night. The Lotus is even believed to have given birth to the sun.
The roots of the Lotus are planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom, while the leaves float on top of the water surface. The Lotus flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeters above the water.
The Lotus flowers, seeds, young leaves and rhizomes are all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food (Mainly in Laos, Cambodia and Miramar)
Various parts of the sacred Lotus are also used in traditional Asian herbal medicine.
The Lotus fruits are a conical pod with seeds contained in holes in the pod. Nucifera means having hard fruit. When the seeds are ripe, they become loose in the pod. The pod then tips down towards the water, releasing the seeds.
When the Lotus flower’s petals fall, they are replaced by a flat-topped seed pod divided into compartments, resembling a wasp’s hive. The tender seeds are munched happily in north-east India.
Lotus stem is eaten almost in all parts of India, and pickled too.
Nelumbium luteum is the American Lotus, with pale, small flowers.
The Indian or Vietnam Lotus, nelumbium nelumbo, usually has pink flowers although white, rose and double varieties are available.