Nelumbo nucifera
Overview
Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Nelumbo
Nelumbo
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling water lilies, commonly known as lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two...

naceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.
Joseph Gaertner
Joseph Gaertner was a German botanist, best known for his work on seeds, De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum ....

) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.
Carl Ludwig Willdenow
Carl Ludwig Willdenow was a German botanist, pharmacist, and plant taxonomist. He is considered one of the founders of phytogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of plants...

) and Nymphaea
Nymphaea
Nymphaea is a genus of aquatic plants in the family Nymphaeaceae. There are about 50 species in the genus, which has a cosmopolitan distribution.-Name:The common name, shared with some other genera in the same family, is Water Lily....

 nelumbo
, among others.
Encyclopedia
Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Nelumbo
Nelumbo
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling water lilies, commonly known as lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two...

naceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.
Joseph Gaertner
Joseph Gaertner was a German botanist, best known for his work on seeds, De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum ....

) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.
Carl Ludwig Willdenow
Carl Ludwig Willdenow was a German botanist, pharmacist, and plant taxonomist. He is considered one of the founders of phytogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of plants...

) and Nymphaea
Nymphaea
Nymphaea is a genus of aquatic plants in the family Nymphaeaceae. There are about 50 species in the genus, which has a cosmopolitan distribution.-Name:The common name, shared with some other genera in the same family, is Water Lily....

 nelumbo
, among others. Names other than Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.
Joseph Gaertner
Joseph Gaertner was a German botanist, best known for his work on seeds, De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum ....

) are obsolete synonyms and should not be used in current works. This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.

A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a waterlily (Nymphaea
Nymphaea
Nymphaea is a genus of aquatic plants in the family Nymphaeaceae. There are about 50 species in the genus, which has a cosmopolitan distribution.-Name:The common name, shared with some other genera in the same family, is Water Lily....

), an entirely different plant as can be seen from the center of the flower, which clearly lacks the structure that goes on to form the distinctive circular seed pod in the Nelumbo nucifera.

Native to Tropical Asia and Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, it is commonly cultivated in water garden
Water garden
Water gardens, also known as aquatic gardens, are a type of man-made water feature. A water garden is defined as any interior or exterior landscape or architectural element whose primarily purpose is to house, display, or propagate a particular species or variety of aquatic plant...

s. The white and pink lotuses are national flower
National emblem
A national emblem symbolically represents a nation. Most national emblems originate in the natural world, such as animals or birds, but another object may serve. National emblems may appear on many things such as the national flag, coat of arms, or other patriotic materials...

s of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, respectively.

Classification

Plant taxonomy
Plant taxonomy
Plant taxonomy is the science that finds, describes, classifies, identifies, and names plants. It thus is one of the main branches of taxonomy.Plant taxonomy is closely allied to plant systematics, and there is no sharp boundary between the two...

 systems agree that this flower is in the Nelumbo
Nelumbo
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling water lilies, commonly known as lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two...

genus, but disagree as to which family Nelumbo is in, or whether it should be part of its own unique family and order tree.

Botany

The roots of Nelumbo nucifera are planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom, while the leaves float on top of the water surface or are held well above it. The flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeters above the leaves. The plant normally grows up to a height of about 150 cm and a horizontal spread of up to 3 meters, but some unverified reports place the height as high as over 5 meters. The leaves may be as large as 60 cm in diameter, while the showy flowers can be up to 20 cm in diameter.

Researchers report that the lotus has the remarkable ability to regulate
Thermogenic plants
Thermogenic plants have the ability to raise their temperature above that of the surrounding air. Heat is generated in the mitochondria, as a secondary process of cellular respiration called thermogenesis...

 the temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 of its flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s to within a narrow range just as humans and other warmblooded animals do. Dr. Roger S. Seymour and Dr. Paul Schultze-Motel, physiologists at the University of Adelaide
University of Adelaide
The University of Adelaide is a public university located in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third oldest university in Australia...

 in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, found that lotus flowers blooming in the Adelaide Botanic Garden
Adelaide Botanic Garden
The Adelaide Botanic Garden is a public garden at the north-east corner of the Adelaide city centre, in the Adelaide Park Lands. It encompasses a fenced garden on North Terrace and behind it the Botanic Park...

s maintained a temperature of 30 –, even when the air temperature dropped to 10 °C (50 °F). They suspect the flowers may be doing this to attract coldblooded insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

 pollinators. The study, published in the journal Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

, is the latest discovery in the esoteric field of heat-producing plants. Two other species known to be able to regulate their temperature include Symplocarpus foetidus and Philodendron selloum
Philodendron selloum
Philodendron bipinnatifidum is a plant that belongs to the family Araceae. The commonly used name P. selloum is a synonym...

.

The traditional Sacred Lotus is distantly related to Nymphaea caerulea and possesses similar chemistry. Both Nymphaea caerulea
Nymphaea caerulea
Nymphaea caerulea, also known as the Blue Egyptian water lily or sacred blue lily, is a water-lily in the genus Nymphaea.-Distribution:Its original habitat may have been along the Nile and other locations in East Africa...

and Nelumbo nucifera contain the alkaloids nuciferine
Nuciferine
Nuciferine is an alkaloid found within the plants Nymphaea caerulea and Nelumbo nucifera. It has a profile of action associated with dopamine receptor blockade. It induces catalepsy, it inhibits spontaneous motor activity, conditioned avoidance response, amphetamine toxicity and stereotypy...

 and aporphine
Aporphine
Aporphine is one of a class of quinoline alkaloids. Many different relatives of this compound have been purified from plants.One commonly-used aporphine derivative is apomorphine....

.

Uses

The distinctive dried seed heads, which resemble the spouts of watering can
Watering can
A watering can is a portable container, usually with a handle and a spout, used to water plants by hand. It has existed since at least the 17th century and has since been improved. It is used for many other uses too, as it is a fairly versatile tool....

sphoto, are widely sold throughout the world for decorative purposes and for dried flower arranging
Floristry
Floristry is the general term used to describe production, commerce and trade in flowers. It encompasses flower care and handling, floral design or flower arranging, merchandising, and display and flower delivery. Wholesale florists sell bulk flowers and related supplies to professionals in the trade...

.

The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and "roots" (rhizome
Rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

s) are all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food, not frequently eaten (for example, as a wrapper for zongzi
Zongzi
Zongzi is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. Laotians, Thais, and Cambodians also have similar traditional dishes. In the Western world, they are also known as rice...

). In Korea, the leaves and petals are used as a tisane. Yeonkkotcha (연꽃차) is made with dried petals of white lotus and yeonipcha (연잎차) is made with the leaves. Young lotus stems
Plant stem
A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes, the nodes hold buds which grow into one or more leaves, inflorescence , conifer cones, roots, other stems etc. The internodes distance one node from another...

 are used as a salad ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. The rhizome
Rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

 (called ǒu (藕) in pinyin Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

, ngau in Cantonese, bhe in Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

, renkon (レンコン, 蓮根 in Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

), yeongeun (연근 in Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

) is used as a vegetable in soups, deep-fried, stir-fried, and braised dishes and the roots are also used in traditional Asian herbal medicine. Petals, leaves, and rhizome
Rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

 can also all be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission (e.g., Fasciolopsis buski): it is therefore recommended that they be cooked before eating.

Lotus rootlets are often pickled
Pickling
Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar . The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste...

 with rice vinegar
Rice vinegar
Rice vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented rice or rice wine in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.-Chinese:Chinese rice vinegars are stronger than Japanese ones, and range in colour from clear to various shades of red and brown...

, sugar, chili and/or garlic. It has a crunchy texture with sweet-tangy flavours. In Asian cuisine
Asian cuisine
Asian cuisine styles can be broken down into several tiny regional styles that have roots in the peoples and cultures of those regions. The major types can be roughly defined as East Asian with its origins in Imperial China and now encompassing modern Japan and the Korean peninsula; Southeast Asian...

, it is popular with salad, prawn
Prawn
Prawns are decapod crustaceans of the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. There are 540 extant species, in seven families, and a fossil record extending back to the Devonian...

s, sesame oil
Sesame oil
Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative...

 and/or coriander
Coriander
Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the...

 leaves. Lotus roots have been found to be rich in dietary fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

, vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

, thiamin, riboflavin
Riboflavin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 or additive E101, is an easily absorbed micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals. It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMN, and is therefore required by all flavoproteins. As such, vitamin B2 is required for a...

, vitamin B6
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex group. Several forms of the vitamin are known, but pyridoxal phosphate is the active form and is a cofactor in many reactions of amino acid metabolism, including transamination, deamination, and decarboxylation...

, phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, and manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

, while very low in saturated fat
Saturated fat
Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully "saturated" with hydrogen atoms...

.

The stamen
Stamen
The stamen is the pollen producing reproductive organ of a flower...

s can be dried and made into a fragrant herbal tea called liánhuā cha (蓮花茶) in Chinese, or (particularly in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

) used to impart a scent to tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 leaves. The lotus seed
Lotus seed
Lotus seeds or lotus nuts are the seeds of plants in the genus Nelumbo, particularly the species Nelumbo nucifera. The seeds are of great importance to East Asian cuisine and are used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine and in Chinese desserts. The seeds are most commonly sold in the...

s or nuts (called liánzĭ, 蓮子; or xian liánzĭ, 鲜莲子, in Chinese) are quite versatile, and can be eaten raw or dried and popped like popcorn
Popcorn
Popcorn, or popping corn, is corn which expands from the kernel and puffs up when heated. Corn is able to pop because, like sorghum, quinoa and millet, its kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy interior. This allows pressure to build inside the kernel until an explosive...

, phool makhana. They can also be boiled until soft and made into a paste, or boiled with dried longan
Longan
Dimocarpus longan, commonly known as the longan, is a tropical tree native to South and Southeast Asia, in the Indomalaya ecozone known for its edible fruit.-Vernacular names:The fruit is known as longan or longyan in English...

s and rock sugar to make a tong sui
Tong Sui
Tong sui, also known as tim tong, is a collective term for any sweet, warm soup or custard served as a dessert at the end of a meal in Cantonese cuisine. Tong sui are a Cantonese specialty and are rarely found in other regional cuisines of China...

(sweet soup). Combined with sugar, lotus seed paste
Lotus seed paste
Lotus seed paste is a Chinese dessert ingredient made from dried lotus seeds. It is traditionally considered as a luxurious ingredient.-Production:...

 becomes one of the most common ingredients used in pastries such as mooncake
Mooncake
Mooncake is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival / Zhongqiu Festival. The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching; mooncakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy on this occasion. Mooncakes are offered between friends or on family gatherings...

s, daifuku
Daifuku
', or ' , is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans....

, and rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 pudding
Pudding
Pudding most often refers to a dessert, but it can also be a savory dish.In the United States, pudding characteristically denotes a sweet milk-based dessert similar in consistency to egg-based custards, though it may also refer to other types such as bread and rice pudding.In the United Kingdom and...

.

In Vietnam, the bitter tasting germs of the lotus seeds are also made into a tisane (trà tim sen).

A unique fabric from the lotus plant fibers is produced only at Inle lake
Inle Lake
Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Nyaungshwe Township of Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar . It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of , and one of the highest at an altitude of...

, Union of Myanmar and is used for weaving special robes for Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 images called kya thingahn (lotus robe).

Cultural significance

From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian
Culture of Asia
The culture of Asia is human civilization in Asia. It features different kinds of cultural heritage of many nationalities, societies, and ethnic groups in the region, traditionally called a continent from a Western-centric perspective, of Asia...

 traditions representing the virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

s of sexual purity and non-attachment
Detachment
Detachment, also expressed as non-attachment, is a state in which a person overcomes his or her attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective.-Importance of the term:...

.

Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

s revere it with the divinities Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 and Lakshmi
Lakshmi
Lakshmi or Lakumi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity , light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments...

 often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography. In the representation of Vishnu as Padmanabha
Padmanabha
Padmanabha may refer to:* Padmanabha , one of the aspects of Vishnu or God with a lotus issuing from his navel on which Brahma sits...

 (Lotus navel), a lotus issues from his navel with Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

 on it. Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on a white-colored lotus.

Often used as an example of divine beauty, Vishnu is often described as the 'Lotus-Eyed One'. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. In Hindu iconography
Hindu iconography
Over the millennia of its development Hinduism has adopted several iconic symbols, forming part of Hindu iconography, that are imbued with spiritual meaning based on either the scriptures or cultural traditions. The exact significance accorded to any of the icons varies with region, period and...

, other deities, like Ganga and Ganesha
Ganesha
Ganesha , also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh, also known as Ganapati , Vinayaka , and Pillaiyar , is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal. Hindu sects worship him regardless of affiliations...

 are often depicted with lotus flowers as their seats.

The lotus plant is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 literature, for example:
In Chinese culture Confucian
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 scholar Zhou Dunyi wrote:
Most deities of Asian religions are depicted as seated on a lotus flower. In Buddhist symbolism
Buddhist symbolism
Buddhist symbolism is the use of Buddhist art to represent certain aspects of dhamma, which began in the 4th century BCE. Anthropomorphic symbolism appeared from around the 1st century CE with the arts of Mathura and the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, and were combined with the previous symbols...

, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind
Three Vajras
The Three Vajras namely 'body', 'speech' and 'mind' are a formulation within Tibetan Buddhism and Bon which holds the full experience of the 'openness' of Buddha-nature, void of all bar the 'qualities' and 'marks' and establishes a sound experiential key upon the 'continuum of the path' to...

 as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. According to legend, Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 was born with the ability to walk, and lotus flowers bloomed everywhere he stepped.

In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures the lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace, being often used in poems and songs as an allegory
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 for ideal feminine attributes. In Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 the word lotus (padma पद्म) has many synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

s. Since the lotus thrives in water, ja (denoting birth) is added to synonyms of water to derive some synonyms for the lotus, like ambuja (ambu= water + ja=born of), neeraj (neera=water + ja= born of), pankaj, pankaja, kamal, kamala, kunala, aravind, arvind, nalin,nalini and saroja and names derived from the lotus, like padmavati (possessing lotuses) or padmini (full of lotuses).
These names and derived versions are often used to name girls, and to a lesser extent boys, in India, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, as well as in many other countries influenced by Indic culture, like Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 and Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

.

Drawing in turn on these beliefs, the international Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 community adopted this symbolism in the design of the Lotus Temple
Lotus Temple
The Bahá'í House of Worship in Delhi, India, popularly known as the Lotus Temple due to its flowerlike shape, is a Bahá'í House of Worship and also a prominent attraction in Delhi. It was completed in 1986 and serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent...

 in New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

, India.

Other uses

  • The Padma Shri
    Padma Shri
    Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan...

    , a civilian award given by the Government of India
    Government of India
    The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

    , has the words Padma ("lotus") and Sri
    Sri
    Sri , also transliterated as Shri or Shree or shre is a word of Sanskrit origin, used in the Indian subcontinent as polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." in written and spoken language, or as a title of veneration for deities .-Etymology:Sri has the root meaning of radiance, or...

    in Devanagari
    Devanagari
    Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

     script appear above and below a lotus flower on its obverse.
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party
    Bharatiya Janata Party
    The Bharatiya Janata Party ,; translation: Indian People's Party) is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Indian National Congress. Established in 1980, it is India's second largest political party in terms of representation in the parliament...

     (BJP), a nationalist political party of India which claims to be at the forefront of India's cultural nationalism, uses the lotus as its election symbol.
  • Lotus Flower
    Lotus Flower (song)
    "Lotus Flower" is a song by the English band Radiohead. It was released in 2011 on their eighth studio album The King of Limbs.A music video was released on February 18, 2011 and features black-and-white footage of lead singer Thom Yorke dancing while singing the song. It was directed by Garth...

    , a song by Radiohead
    Radiohead
    Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke , Jonny Greenwood , Ed O'Brien , Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway .Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992...

     on their 2011 album, The King of Limbs
    The King of Limbs
    The King of Limbs is the eighth studio album by English rock band Radiohead, produced by Nigel Godrich. It was self-released on 18 February 2011 as a download in MP3 and WAV formats, followed by physical CD and 12" vinyl releases on 28 March, a wider digital release via AWAL, and a special...

    .
  • Japanese rock musician Miyavi
    Miyavi
    , better known by his stage name , is a Japanese visual kei musician. His work as guitarist for Dué le Quartz and his successful solo career have established him as an accomplished musician in the Japanese music scene.- Early life :...

     uses the lotus and a crescent moon with the kanji
    Kanji
    Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters hanzi that are used in the modern Japanese writing system along with hiragana , katakana , Indo Arabic numerals, and the occasional use of the Latin alphabet...

     of his name (meaning 'elegance') above, as his insignia.
  • Moriyama City
    Moriyama, Shiga
    is a city located in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.As of August 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 77,384 and the density of 1,390 persons per km². The total area is 55.73 km²....

    's prefectural flower is the lotus.
  • Vietnam Airlines
    Vietnam Airlines
    Vietnam Airlines Company Limited, trading as Vietnam Airlines , is the national flag carrier of Vietnam. Founded in 1956 under the name Vietnam Civil Aviation, the airline was established as a state enterprise in April 1989. Vietnam Airlines is headquartered in Long Bien, Hanoi, with hubs at Noi...

    's logo comprises a golden lotus and is also mentioned in their frequent flyer program
    Frequent flyer program
    A frequent flyer program is a loyalty program offered by many airlines. Typically, airline customers enrolled in the program accumulate frequent flyer miles corresponding to the distance flown on that airline or its partners. There are other ways to accumulate miles...

    , the Golden Lotus Plus.
  • Lotus is burned in a powdered form as ceremonial incense, primarily in Buddhist temples.
  • Lotus is an Ayyavazhi
    Ayyavazhi
    Ayyavazhi is a dharmic belief system that originated in South India in the 19th century. It is cited as an independent monistic religion by several newspapers, government reports and academic researchers. In Indian censuses, however, the majority of its followers declare themselves as Hindus...

     symbol in south Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

    .
  • Dark Lotus
    Dark Lotus
    Dark Lotus is an American hip hop supergroup based in Detroit, Michigan. Formed in 1998, the group consists of Psychopathic Records-associated rappers Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler of Insane Clown Posse, Jamie Spaniolo and Paul Methric of Twiztid, and Chris Rouleau.-History:Dark Lotus made its...


See also

  • Lotus
    Lotus (plant)
    Lotus identifies various plant taxa:* Nelumbo, a genus of aquatic plants with showy flowers** Nelumbo nucifera, the Sacred or Indian lotus** Nelumbo lutea, the American or Yellow lotus...

  • Lotus seed
    Lotus seed
    Lotus seeds or lotus nuts are the seeds of plants in the genus Nelumbo, particularly the species Nelumbo nucifera. The seeds are of great importance to East Asian cuisine and are used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine and in Chinese desserts. The seeds are most commonly sold in the...

  • Lotus Position
    Lotus position
    The Lotus Position is a cross-legged sitting posture originating in meditative practices of ancient India, in which the feet are placed on the opposing thighs. It is an established posture, commonly used for meditation, in the Hindu Yoga and Buddhist contemplative traditions...

  • Lotus-eaters
    Lotus-eaters
    In Greek mythology, the lotus-eaters , also referred to as the lotophagi or lotophaguses or lotophages , were a race of people living on an island near North Africa dominated by lotus plants...

  • The Lotos-Eaters
    The Lotos-Eaters
    The Lotos-Eaters is a poem by Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, published in Tennyson's 1832 poetry collection. It was inspired by his trip to Spain with his close friend Arthur Hallam, where they visited the Pyrenees mountains...

  • Nelumbo
    Nelumbo
    Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling water lilies, commonly known as lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two...

  • Tulsi
    Tulsi
    Ocimum tenuiflorum Ocimum tenuiflorum Ocimum tenuiflorum (also tulsi, tulasī, or Holy Basil is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. It is an erect, much branched subshrub 30–60 cm...

  • Palmette
    Palmette
    The palmette is a motif in decorative art which, in its most characteristic expression, resembles the fan-shaped leaves of a palm tree. It has an extremely long history, originating in Ancient Egypt with a subsequent development through the art of most of Eurasia, often in forms that bear...


External links

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