March 19, 2019

Most of us have a clear image of what a Lotus plant looks like: a long aquatic plant, with a medium-sized flower and gentle bright-pastel petals floating still on a calm pond. That's what we picture when we think of a Lotus flower.

Different from the common Water Lily, which floats directly on the water's surface, the Lotus flower is located at the top of a stem that supports its big rounded leaves. But not everyone knows that there are actually two types of Lotus. Besides the famous aquatic plant that we're all familiar with, the term Lotus also refers to the Lotus japonicus, a legume typical of Japan, China, Korea, and Afghanistan.

Back to our most known lotus, there are two species of the lotus flower. The most well-known is theNelumbo nucifera, originally from the South East, Central, and West Asia, in addition to Japan and South Korea. The second species is from South and Central America, calledNelumbo lutea.

The Nelumbo nucifera is usually found indoors as decorations, not only in the Western parts of the world but also and mainly in predominately Buddhist and Hinduist countries, like India, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Due to their tropical origins, Lotus flowers need high temperatures, a solid water base where their roots can spread around the environment, and a good amount of light. It is possible to maintain a Lotus plant indoors, with the presence of a water surface and a wide medium-sized planter.

The origins of this flower are sources of various stories and legends in many cultures. For example, in Homer'sOdyssey, there are some characters called Lotophagi, who were known to eat Lotus flowers, which caused apathy and sleepiness. In China, Lotus flowers are usually eaten and served during national festivities. The Lotus flower is also known to be poor of fats and rich in potassium, Vitamin C, phosphor, and proteins, which explains its popularity in Asian cuisine, not only as a food but also as a beverage. The Burmese fashion industry is mostly focused on handcrafted pieces of clothing and accessories made of lotus material.

The lotus flower has a millennial history and its purity blesses us with its magnificence and simplicity still today.

 

Author: Giulia Baldini


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