Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Lotus, Nelumbo, or Water Lily?
Most of you would know what this flower is. Many would call it water lily or lotus. Some would probably call it nelumbo. So, which one is it?
Water lily is the generic name of this kind of aquatic flowering plant that has its roots in the soil submerged in a body of fresh water and whose leaves and flowers float on or above the water surface. It belongs to the family of nymphaeaceae. Lotus or nelumbo used to be traditionally classified into this family for their apparent similar characteristics. However, lotus or nelumbo is now considered to be a separate family of nelumbonaceae. Unlike the water lily which belongs to the order of nymphaeales, lotus or nelumbo belongs to the order of proteales.
Now that you know that water lily is not the same as lotus (nelumbo) in their botanical classifications, you may want to know what characterizes their differences.
The lotus or nelumbo has peltate leaves, that is its leaves are fully round with an underneath stem. Water lily's leaves, on the other hand, are notched (v-shaped) from the edge into the center of the lily pad. In addition to this, the lotus or nelumbo has a very distinctive seed pod that water lily doesn't.
Now that you know this, can you tell which flower is on the photo? Water lilly or lotus (nelumbo)?
This flowering plant is one of the hundreds of decorative plants cultivated at the village of Cihideung, Bandung.