Lotus flowers

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Lotus flowers
Indian lotus flower (Nelumbo nucifera)

Indian lotus flower ( Nelumbo nucifera )

Subdivision : Seed plants (Spermatophytina)
Class : Bedecktsamer (Magnoliopsida)
Order : Silver tree-like (Proteales)
Family : Lotus plants
Genre : Lotus flowers
Scientific name of the  family
Scientific name of the  genus

The lotus flower ( Nelumbo ) also Lotus or Lotus called, are the only genus of the plant family of the lotus plants (Nelumbonaceae). Of the only two species, one is native to the New World and the other to Asia and northern Australia. Both species and their hybrids are used as ornamental plants and provide food.


The two lotus species are perennial, herbaceous aquatic plants with rhizomes . Different leaves are formed ( heterophylly ). The leaves are shield-shaped (peltat). Stipules are present. The large flowers are hermaphroditic, with many free carpels . The pollination is done by beetles.

The special thing about the leaves of the lotus is that they are liquid-repellent, so that, for example, water simply rolls off. This keeps the leaves clean and prevents fungi or other organisms that could harm the plant from spreading on them ( lotus effect ).


The genus Nelumbo was established in 1763 by Michel Adanson in Familles des Plantes , 2, p. 76, 582. Nelumbo is the only genus in the Nelumbonaceae family . The first publication of the Nelumbonaceae family is Achille Richard in Bory: Dictionnaire Classique d'Histoire Naturelle, par Messieurs Audouin, Isid. Bourdon, Ad. Brongniart, de Candolle… et Bory de Saint-Vincent. , 11, 1827, p. 492.

The genus Nelumbo contains only two species:

  • Indian lotus flower ( Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. , Syn .: Nelumbo caspica Eichw. , Nelumbo komarovii Grossh. , Nelumbo nelumbo (L.) Druce , nom. Inval., Nelumbo speciosum Willd. , Nymphaea nelumbo L. )
  • American lotus flower ( Nelumbo lutea Willd. , Syn .: Nelumbo nucifera subsp. Lutea (Willd.) T. Borsch & Barthlott , Nelumbo pentapetala (Walter) Willd. , Nymphaea pentapetala Walter ).

Possible confusion of common names

The tiger lotus or white Egyptian lotus is just like the blue lotus flower a species in the genus of the water lilies ( Nymphaea ) in the family of the water lily plants and is not related to the real lotus.


Its ability to reject filth made the lotus a symbol of purity, loyalty, creativity and enlightenment in large parts of Asia. The symbol can be found in both Hinduism and Buddhism , where the enlightened ( Buddhas ), especially Siddhartha Gautama , are regularly represented standing or sitting on an open lotus flower or a lotus throne.

Its symbolism is particularly diverse in China : Due to the fact that they have the same sound, the words love and harmonious marital bond are associated with the lotus; the lotus blossom is therefore also a symbol of a good marriage. The red lotus flower in particular is a symbol of the vagina . In Buddhism, the lotus is one of the eight treasures and is a symbol of the passage of time (with the individual phases of fruit, blossom and stems) and of the effect of the Buddha's teaching (the roots are in the mud, but the lotus blossoms on the surface). In Daoism the lotus is an attribute of the Daoist immortal He Xiangu .

As an anthemion , lotus flowers also have a meaning in art. The domes of Islamic mausoleums and mosques of Mughal architecture in India regularly end in upturned marble lotus blossoms (e.g. Taj Mahal ). The shape of the lotus blossom was also taken up by the Baha'i as a symbol of purity : the first Baha'i temple in India, a sacred building for followers of all religions, is modeled on the shape of a lotus flower.


The roots, fruits, seeds and stems of both species are eaten. Isolated occurrences of the American lotus in Connecticut and Delaware valleys could be due to cultivation by Native American tribes.

The leaves are used as packaging for food, and parts of the plant are used as medicine. The seeds of the Indian lotus are used in prayer chains and the dried lotus fruit is used as a calligraphy brush. The fibers of the stems and leaves can be spun into lotus silk .

Because of its dirt-repellent properties, the so-called lotus effect , it is a research object for surface sealing .


The University of Tokyo has a Lotus Research Center.


See also


Web links

Commons : lotus flowers  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolfram Eberhard: Lexicon of Chinese symbols . Munich 1983, ISBN 3-424-00750-1
  2. a b Keyword Nelumbonaceae. In: Reinhard Lieberei, Wolfgang Franke, Christoph Reisdorff: Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: (Except Ornamentals). Springer, 2001, p. 141.
  3. ^ John F. Mariani: Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. Lebhar-Friedman Books, 1999. ISBN 0-86730-784-6 , p. 291.
  4. Kazuaki Tanahashi : LOTOS . Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-9815371-3-0
  5. arte TV : Film 'Mysterious Plants' (2010); Director: Francois-Xavier Vives.