What is Lotus: 7 Amazing Facts About This Sacred Flower
The lotus is a remarkable plant that has been revered by many cultures and religions for its beauty, symbolism and medicinal properties. But what is the lotus exactly and what makes it so special? Here are seven amazing facts about this sacred flower that you may not know.
1. The lotus is not a water lily. Although they look similar, the lotus belongs to a different family of plants called Nelumbo, while the water lily belongs to the family Nymphaea. The main difference is that the lotus has a circular seed pod in the center of its flower, while the water lily has a cone-shaped one.
2. The lotus can regulate its temperature. The lotus has a unique ability to maintain a constant temperature of about 30°C (86°F) even when the air temperature fluctuates between 10°C and 40°C (50°F and 104°F). This helps the plant attract pollinators such as bees and beetles that prefer warmer flowers.
3. The lotus can survive for thousands of years. The lotus has a remarkable longevity and can remain dormant for long periods of time. In fact, some lotus seeds have been found to be viable after more than a thousand years. In 1994, a lotus seed that was estimated to be 1,300 years old was successfully germinated in China.
4. The lotus is edible and medicinal. Almost every part of the lotus can be eaten or used for medicinal purposes. The roots, stems, leaves, seeds and flowers are all edible and nutritious. The lotus also contains various compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
5. The lotus is a symbol of purity and enlightenment. The lotus is widely regarded as a sacred flower in many religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The lotus represents purity because it grows in muddy water but emerges clean and beautiful. It also represents enlightenment because it rises above the water and opens its petals to the sun.
6. The lotus has inspired many inventions and designs. The lotus has influenced many aspects of human culture and technology. For example, the shape of the lotus seed pod inspired the design of the Sydney Opera House. The self-cleaning property of the lotus leaf inspired the development of water-repellent materials and coatings.
7. The lotus is the national flower of India and Vietnam. The lotus is a symbol of national pride and identity for both India and Vietnam. In India, the lotus is associated with several deities such as Vishnu, Lakshmi and Saraswati. In Vietnam, the lotus is a symbol of resilience and perseverance as it blooms in harsh conditions.
Read more: What Are Dried Lotus Root Benefits?