types of lotus

Lotus Flower: Different Types, Facts, Uses, Growth & Care

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Lotus flowers are considered sacred flowers in many parts of the world. They are known for their beauty and for the religious significance they carry, especially throughout Asia (1). 

This type of flower is ancient, in fact, some seeds have been germinating for over 1000 years, making it one of the oldest flowers to have ever been recorded in both history and botanic books. 

Another important characteristic is that these flowers can generate heat and they often self-regulate their temperature, which is a similar trait to what animals and humans can do.

Would you like to know more about lotus flowers? Continue reading and become an expert on them! 

Lotus Flower Facts

white lotus flower
  • Lotus flowers are very impressive because even though they are relatively small in height, they can spread out up to 10 feet horizontally. 
  • This flower is the national plant of Vietnam and India. In those countries, people eat most parts of the lotus flower. 
  • China is one of the biggest cultivators of Lotus flowers, and they tend to have a crop rotation system that usually involves rice and different types of vegetables (2). 

Lotus: History, Name, and Description 

lotus pond

Even though its origins cannot be fully traced, lotus flowers have often been depicted in ancient cultures throughout the world. For example, in Egyptian mythology, it is believed that the lotus had given birth to the sun because it blooms during the day and it closes during the night. 

However, they can now be found in different countries, from India to Australia to Russia, and pretty much in the rest of the world, thanks to human migration (3).

The lotus flower is an aquatic plant that belongs to the Nelumbonaceae family. There are two different species within the lotus family and these are the Nelumbo Lutea and the Nelumbo Nucifera (4)

Nymphaea nelumbo

The transformation these plants go through is simply amazing, mainly because they can grow in ponds that are filled with mud or dirt, and they still manage to become something beautiful.

They are also very resistant to different types of weather, and due to this metamorphosis, the lotus flower has been associated with rebirth, enlightenment, and purity throughout thousands of years. 

The lotus flower can be very fragrant and they usually open up in the morning, but its petals close in the late afternoon. 

Types of Lotus Flowers

lotus flower close up

This aquatic perennial flower has many diverse subtypes of flowers that can be differentiated thanks to its roots or flowers.

They can have few petals, many petals, double petals or multiple petals. They also come in different colors: yellow, white, pink and or red.

The following are the most common types of lotus flowers: 

American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea)

american lotus

This type of Lotus is very common, and it can be found in different types of weather. Its leaves are circular and can be blue-green.

Even though its flowers are very delicate, its stems are usually very rigid and have a lot of strength. The flowers are either white or yellow and have -at least – 20 petals each. They are sometimes referred to as Water Chinquapin.

Vietnamese Lotus

vietnamese lotus

As the name indicates, they can be found all over Vietnam. They are usually pink but nowadays white flowers can also be found. There are many lotus fields in the Asian country and they are considered a culinary delicacy.

Angel Wings Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

angel wings lotus

The leaves of this lotus can be very big as they can reach up to 24 inches in size. They are also round and light green. The petals are white and they don’t need a lot of water in order to grow. 

Momo Botan (Nelumbo)

momo botan

They can grow up to two feet in height. They produce double blooms and its petals are rose-pink. Sometimes, older flowers can stay open during the night. They can be placed in small ponds. 

Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

sacred lotus

As its name suggests, this flower is sacred in India because it grows even in the dirtiest of ponds. Its leaves are rigid, strong, and easy to keep clean. Its petals are pink and white and they can reach up to 13 inches in diameter.

King Lotus

It is one of the biggest varieties of Lotus flowers, in fact, the flower can reach up to 15 inches in diameter. It has a distinctive color as well, as it usually is red on the inside and white on the outside.

They are known for being buoyant, meaning that they can stay afloat even if they are carrying weight. They can self-regulate their temperature, so they are easily adapted to new environments.

Lavender Lady Lotus

Another impressive member of the Lotus family, they have a lavender color that sometimes transforms into pink. Amazingly, they can grow up to seven feet in height, and they love humid climates.

Royal Lotus 

royal lotus

Very unique and difficult to find flowers, they are small in comparison to other types of lotus. They don’t require much space because they don’t grow too tall. However, they do have lots of pink petals, and the inner side can be white or yellow. Its pod has big seeds that look like beans. 

Frankly Scarlet Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

frankly scarlet lotus

They are very colorful lotus and the petals are vibrant pink. They can grow up to six feet high. Also, this type of lotus is very fragrant.

Mrs. Perry D. Slocum (Nelumbo nucifera)

mrs perry d slocum lotus

They can grow up to four feet in height, and they are very bright in color. Actually, sometimes it appears like they have several colors, ranging from pink to yellow to cream. They are also very fragrant.

Carolina Queen Lotus 

They can reach up to six feet in height. Sometimes they are mistaken with tulips because of their resemblance. This type of lotus has rose-pink petals and loves being exposed to the sun.

Tinh De Lotus 

This is a very rare variety of the Lotus flower because it has a unique shape. It has two flowers that grow from the same stem. They symbolize love and purity, as they represent a couple who is in love. This type of lotus has white or pink petals, and they only appear during certain times of the year.

Green Maiden Lotus

It is a very elegant type of lotus, and it has a very unique color and shape. It can transform the color of its petals, and it usually goes from pink to yellow to a dark cream color. They can grow up to 4 feet in height, and they have slightly oval-shaped petals.

Celestial Lotus

This amazing variety of lotus has at least 80 petals per bloom. It also has a very light red color and has soft leaves that cannot carry any weight. They can reach up to four feet in height.

Chawan Basu Lotus 

chawan basu lotus

This type of flower is considered a ‘dwarf’ species. They can grow up to 35 inches high. They have soft pink flowers, and, on the outside, they have dark pink borders. They like cold places, which is where they thrive the best. Chawan Basu has a bowl-shaped flower.

Yellow Lotus of the Shine 

It also has an interesting shape. This is a hybrid flower that was developed in 1968. Its flowers’ have a bright yellow center and they have white petals with a touch of pink. It can reach up to a foot in height. 

Sunflower Lotus

It loves being exposed to the sun, but it also needs a long time to bloom properly. It has dark pink petals and they have a white center. The leaves can reach at least 12 inches in diameter. It likes warm weather, but it can tolerate colder climates.

Red Lotus of Yohan

red lotus of yohan

One of the most beautiful and striking Lotus flowers, it has very dark red petals. It can grow really tall, and it has at least 25 petals per bloom.

Lotus of Golden Wheel

It has 20 petals per bloom, and its petals are white with a red border. They also have a bright yellow center and its leaves are very delicate. It can propagate easily.

Cherry Lotus

It has 18 petals per bloom, and they have a purple-red color. It can grow up to eight inches in diameter. The petals have an oval-like shape, and they are a very common type of lotus flower.

Asiatic Lotus (Nelumbo – Alba Grandiflora)

asiatic lotus

This lotus plant has a white flower that can grow up to four feet high. It is a very big and stunning Lotus. It has a powerful fragrance and it can be seen throughout the year. It likes to have other Asiatic Lotus around, so they are always seen in groups.

Hybrids Lotus

Several hybrid lotus flowers that can be found everywhere in the world. For example, the Nelumbo – Alba Grandiflora is one of them, but nowadays more and newer hybrids are being made.

Lotus Nelumbo Sweetheart

Another hybrid lotus flower, its petals are a combination of white, yellow and cream. They are middle-sized and can adapt to all types of weather. Its leaves have a very bright shade of green.

Lotus Nelumbo Red Scarf

A hybrid lotus flower, it is also referred to as Honglingjin flower. It has bright pink flowers and bright green leaves. They love to receive direct sunlight.

Shirokunshi Tulip Lotus

This Lotus is another hybrid flower. It has white petals and bright green foliage. It looks like a tulip, hence its name. It blooms well in different types of climate. It needs to be exposed under direct sunlight for at least 12 hours a day.

Lotus of the Clear Moon

This flower is very common in Asia. it has around 26 petals per bloom and its petals are white. Its leaves are very tall, and they can reach up to 16 inches in height. Right in the middle of the flower, a pistachio-type of fruit can be found.

Red Lotus at Yushan

It has around 30 petals per bloom. It also has a double (and sometimes semi-double) flower. Its petals are deep pink, however, this color can fade quickly, and it becomes a warm pink. 

Baby Doll Lotus (Nelumbo) 

Another hybrid flower, it has white flowers that are truly gorgeous. It’s a dwarf plant, especially when compared to other types of lotus flowers. It has a very light scent.

Red Lotus of Tatsuta

It has at least 18 petals per flower, and it is one of the darkest lotus flowers. Its petals are red and they are considered as a spicy ingredient in many Asian cuisines.

Lotus of the Absolute Reality

They have at least 24 petals per bloom. It has a wide stem and it is known for having very bright colors. Its leaves are soft to touch and they are considered as one of the most ancient types of lotus flowers. 

Lotus of the Wisteria Court

It has at least 25 petals per bloom. It is one of the largest Lotus flowers and it is found in Japan. It has large petals and they can reach up to ten inches in diameter. They also have very vibrant colors.

Lotus of the Princess 

This beautiful flower has around 18 petals per bloom. Its leaves are coarse and they have a distinct shape. Its flowers are red and it reproduces well.

Perry’s Giant Sunburst Lotus (Nelumbo)

perrys giant sunburst lotus

This is a very interesting Lotus because after it flowers, some nut-like fruit starts to appear. It has double-flower petals that are very fragrant and its stems are very sturdy as well. Another interesting thing to note is that the flowers remain open for three days non-stop, and then rest for a whole day.

Rosea Plena (Nelumbo Roseum plenum)

This lotus has a plant that can reach up to two feet in height. Its petals are pink or white, and they usually have double-petals as well. It also produces seeds that are often used in Chinese cuisine. It has a very fragrant smell and it likes humid environments.

Sacred Pink (Nelumbo Nucifera Speciosum)

sacred pink lotus

It can grow up to four feet high and it has pink and white petals. They are often used in religious ceremonies. They like to live in cold weather, although they are able to adapt to other types of climates.

Nelumbo Aureavallis

Even though this type of lotus flower is now extinct, reports and studies have stated that they were found in the Ypresian age, so, in reality, this flower was an Eocene fossil that was found in North Dakota, in the United States of America. 

Nelumbo Changchangensis 

Another type of lotus flower that has become extinct, it was also found as an Eocene fossil, located in China. Its leaf structure was the same as modern-day Lotus flowers (5). 


Growing Lotus Plant: All You Need to Know

grow lotus plant

Many cultures believe that all the lotus flowers have been sent by different gods as gifts to people on earth. 

This is why there is a direct correlation between the external conditions of the lotus flowers and how long they last, because the gods were aware of what type of lotus flowers they should send, in order to overcome certain problems.

Growing lotus flowers is not difficult, you just need to have patience and be observant. 

lotus seeds

Usually, the seeds take around three to four weeks to germinate, and they should then be placed in warm water, and this needs to be changed almost daily. 

They love to grow in the mud, so be aware of this whenever -and wherever you are trying to plant your seeds. 

In addition, lotus flowers are known for their ability to adapt to different weather. So, if you live in a very cold area, your Lotus will be great, as long as you keep its roots in water and mud. 

green lotus pod

The same principle goes the other way around, so, if you happen to be in a very warm area, try to maintain your lotus’ roots cool (6).

Lotus Maintenance

You must place certain care on its roots, so make sure they never freeze down or get burnt. 

lotus plant care

Also, if they have yellow foliage during the fall season, then you must cut it off; this way you’ll allow your plant to lower itself to the pond again. 

Another great thing about lotus flowers is that they also help you maintain the environment, as they are known for cleaning the oxygen from pollution. Also, they help to detox water from heavy metals.


Benefits and Uses of Lotus Flowers

pink lotus blossom

Lotus flowers are still used nowadays, mainly because they present a great source of nutrients, and because they are considered sacred in some places. 

The oil that can be extracted from lotus flowers has been used as an alternative medicine for men who need a replacement for viagra. 

white lotus bud

What’s more, there are also culinary uses of the flower, as pretty much all of the lotus can be eaten as it’s filled with starch and vitamins that are good for human consumption. 

Thus, this flower can be eaten in salads, in soups, dried, or even powdered. It can also be consumed in teas or hot beverages. Some lotus leaves are used as an aid to weight loss (7).


Meaning and Symbolism of Lotus Flowers

lotus flower meaning

Ancient Egypt

The lotus flower was known as Seshen during this time, and people used to think that the flower would give them strength and power, therefore, they needed to cultivate it. 

Besides, it was seen as a symbol of rebirth, because it would open and close its petals throughout the day and night. 

Buddhism

pink lotus bud

For Buddhists, the lotus flower can be seen as a mirror that reflects a person’s spiritual journey. The beginnings of a Lotus have been compared to the samsara, which is the suffering that spirits have when they are still attached to their egos.

It has been said that when Buddha was born, lots of lotus flowers started to appear nearby him, thus, this religion has an important connection with this flower (8). 

Hinduism

lotus flower meaning

The lotus flower is often seen as a divine and pure symbol. Also, very important gods and goddesses of this religion are often portrayed with Lotus flowers. 

It has also been stated that when the god Brahma was born, a lotus flower emerged from another god called Vishnu. Lastly, the god Krishna is often referred to as ‘’The Lotus-Eyed One’’. 


Common Questions about Lotus Flowers

Here are some of the most common questions about lotus flowers:

How many petals does a lotus flower have?

It all depends on the variety of the lotus flower, however, the number of petals can go from eight to 25, and, sometimes even more. 

Are lotus flowers poisonous?

lotus seeds in lotus flower

No, they are not. In fact, they are edible, and different cultures tend to consume their rhizomes, stems, flowers or seeds. 

However, there is a slight risk of getting a parasite transmission disease, but this can only happen if the lotus flower is consumed raw. 

Therefore, it is advisable to cook it, in order to avoid any problems (9).

Why is the lotus flower so special?

The lotus flower is so special because it has made men and women alike realize the importance of nature and how the universe and the human being works. 

Its resilience can be seen as a positive characteristic that we all should learn. 


Conclusion

The lotus flower is often a representation of the consciousness that all humans have, and the connection we all have with the universe. 

Through the consumption of this flower, one can benefit from all the nutrients this plant has to offer. 

From the cultivation of this flower, one can benefit from the care this plant can provide us. 

And from the study of this flower, one can understand how the mind works, how the ego comes and goes, and how attachment to something should simply ‘’rub off’’, just like mud rubs off from the lotus flower.

They are sacred flowers not only because of their beauty but also because of the long history of existence that they have had, and everything they represent.

Up Next: Water Lily: Different Varieties, Flower Colors and Pictures

References

Reference List:

  1. Lin, Z., Zhang, C., Cao, D., Damaris, R. N., & Yang, P. (2019). The Latest Studies on Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)-an Emerging Horticultural Model Plant. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(15), 3680. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153680
  2. Lin, Z., Zhang, C., Cao, D., Damaris, R. N., & Yang, P. (2019). The Latest Studies on Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)-an Emerging Horticultural Model Plant. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(15), 3680. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153680
  3. Zhu Mingzhi, Liu Ting, Guo Mingquan. (2016). Current Advances in the Metabolomics Study on Lotus Seeds. Journal Frontiers in Plant Science, Volume 7.   DOI=10.3389/fpls.2016.00891 
  4. Lin, Z., Zhang, C., Cao, D., Damaris, R. N., & Yang, P. (2019). The Latest Studies on Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)-an Emerging Horticultural Model Plant. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(15), 3680. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153680
  5. Ya Li, Nilamber Awasthi, Natalya Nosova, Jian-Xin Yao, Comparative study of leaf architecture and cuticles of Nelumbo changchangensis from the Eocene of Hainan Island, China, and the two extant species of Nelumbo (Nelumbonaceae), Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 180, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 123–137, https://doi.org/10.1111/boj.12361
  6. Lu, H. F., Tan, Y. W., Zhang, W. S., Qiao, Y. C., Campbell, D. E., Zhong, L., & Ren, H. (2017). Integrated emergy and economic evaluation of lotus-root production systems on reclaimed wetlands surrounding the Pearl River Estuary, China. Journal of cleaner production, 158, 367–379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.05.016
  7. Mukherjee, Pulok & Mukherjee, Debajyoti & Maji, Amal & Rai, S & Heinrich, Michael. (2009). The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) – Phytochemical and therapeutic profile. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology. 61. 407-22. 10.1211/jpp/61.04.0001. 
  8. Li, Y., Zhu, F. L., Zheng, X. W., Hu, M. L., Dong, C., Diao, Y., Wang, Y. W., Xie, K. Q., & Hu, Z. L. (2020). Comparative population genomics reveals genetic divergence and selection in lotus, Nelumbo nucifera. BMC genomics, 21(1), 146. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6376-8
  9. Zhu Mingzhi, Liu Ting, Guo Mingquan. (2016). Current Advances in the Metabolomics Study on Lotus Seeds. Journal Frontiers in Plant Science, Volume 7.   DOI=10.3389/fpls.2016.00891 

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