Lotus Flower- National Flower of India
Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera.
National flower of India: Lotus (also Indian lotus, sacred lotus) is the national flower of India. It has received this recognition because of its Indian origin, its long association with our culture and also due to its usefulness.
It is a beautiful flower with appealing color and fragrance. From very ancient time, we have been using lotus in one way or the other.
Habitat: Lotus is an aquatic herb with floating leaves. It is found growing in shallow water of ponds, lakes, ditches. Occasionally it is cultivated in small pools in the gardens (lily pool).
Though it is an absolutely Indian flower, nowadays it is also found in countries like China, Japan, Australia and tropical America.
Nature: Lotus is a flowering plant.
The characteristic features of its stem, leaf and flower are as follows:
Stem: The stem of Lotus is fleshy and thick and is called rhizome, which grows in the mud at the bottom of water sources. It gives off bunches of roots to keep the plant anchored to the soil. Leaves develop from the nodes of rhizome. The rhizome can be used for propagation of Lotus.
Leaves: Leaves of Lotus are simple and almost round with long, hollow, air-filled stalks (petiole) that give support to the leaf to float on the surface of water. The stalk may be up to 100 cm. long and is covered with tiny spikes called prickles. The diameter of the leaf may vary between 60 and 80 cm. The upper surface is bright green in color and glossy in appearance, while the under surface is reddish green in color.
Flower: The flower appears singly on a long, spongy stalk covered with tiny spikes. The flowers are large, showy and light pink or white in color that usually remains high above the water surface. The flowers have numerous petals which are arranged on a spongy top-shaped disc called thalamus. The disc contains carpel which ultimately develops into fruits. The fruits remain embedded within the thalamus. When the fruits mature in the spongy part of the thalamus all the petals and stamens fall of and conical thalamus gets detached from the stalk. In due course the thalamus rots and the fruits containing the seed sink to the bottom of water and germinate into a new plant.
Spot identifying features
The characteristic identifying features of Lotus are as follows:
It is an aquatic, herbaceous plant, whose roots, stem and stalk of flower remain under water.
The stem, known as rhizome, is thick and fleshy.
Leaves are large, round, dark-green, smooth and shining. They remain floating.
Flowers are large, showy with many boat-shaped petals. Flower and leaf-stalk are long with coarse surface.
Fruits are large, triangular shaped, spongy containing many seeds.
Although Lotus is mainly regarded as an ornamental plant and its flowers are used for religious purposes, it has several other uses. Large leaves are used as plates for taking meals. The petiole, rhizome (stem) and seeds are used as food. Besides, they have medicinal values. Lotus honey is useful for treatment of various diseases of the eyes.