Few flowers are as important to Eastern cultures as the Lotus, and each culture ascribes a slightly different meaning to the flower.
Although cultures have their own interpretations of this flower, there is a general consensus among ancient texts that it symbolizes spiritual enlightenment and rebirth. The lotus stunned people with its ability to dip into the grime and revive itself unscathed—an incredible daily cycle of life, death, and a sudden immaculate rebirth that can only be described as spiritual. It is no wonder the lotus is associated with such celestial symbolism—the flower simply defies logic.
Lotus is an aquatic flowering plant in the family of Nelumbonaceae. They are found in white and pink colors in general and they grow in shallow and murky waters. They enjoy warm sunlight and are intolerant to cold weather which is why the Lotus is not seen blossoming in the winter. The floating leaves and Lotus flowers have long stems, which contain air spaces to maintain the buoyancy. The Lotus is native to Asia and flourishes in a wide range of climates from India to China.
The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest mud.
– Buddhist Proverb –
Flowers commonly called Lotus around the world include:
- The Egyptian lotus flower: With the scientific name of Nymphaea caerula, the Egyptian blue lotus is actually more accurately described as a water lily. These blooms sport light blue or purple petals and played an important role in spiritual events.
- The Japanese lotus flower: Also known as the sacred Lotus in China, Bali, and other tropical countries in Asia, this plant’s scientific name is Nelumbo nucifera. It is the flower you see being used as the seat of Buddha and many Hindu deities too.
- The American lotus flower: A bright yellow Lotus, the Nelumbo lutea, is native to North America and was used as a food crop by many Native American tribes. It is not as well known symbolically as the other varieties, but it is still a beautiful addition to a water feature.
- Other Lotuses: Most white and red Lotus flower varieties also fall into the Nymphaea water lily family. This means they held the most power in Egyptian and other ancient Asian cultures.
This sacred flower isn`t only fantastic to look at – Lotus dry seed heads are commercially sold throughout the world for its use in herbal oils, medicines and decorative purposes. Flowers, leaves, roots of lotus plants are used for food wrapping and garnishing. In some countries, the rhizomes are used as a vegetable in soups, deep-fried and other dishes.