About to Bloom

COMMON NAME: Lotus, Sacred lotus, East Indian Lotus
HINDI: कमल Kamal, Pundarika, पद्म Padma
MARATHI: Pandkanda, कमल Kamal
TAMIL: chenthaamarai, Tamarai, Ambal
TELUGU: Tamara, Erra-tamara
KANNADA: Tavare-gadde
BENGALI: Komol, Padma
ORIYA: Padam
URDU: نیلوفر Nilufer
GUJARATI: Motunkamal
SANSKRITI: सरसिज Sarsija, Pankeruha , शारदा Sharada, अम्बुज Ambuj

BOTANICAL NAME: Nelumbo nucifera
FAMILY: Nelumbonaceae (Lotus family)
SYNONYMS: Nelumbium speciosum

Lotus is the national flower of India. No other plant figures so prominently in Asian religions as the Lotus. Both Hindus and Buddhists regard it as a sacred symbol and use it not only in offerings but also in countless art forms. The Lotus is native to Asia and flourishes in a wide range of climates from India to China. Unlike other members of water lily family, its large pink or white petalled flowers and leaf stalks rise above the water, sometimes for a considerable distance. The large, round leaves are covered with a network of microscopic hairs, which keep them dry in a rain. When the flower flower petals fall, they are replaced by a flat-topped seed pod divided into compartments, resembling a wasp’s hive. The tender seeds are munched happily in the north-east India. Infact, the stem is eaten almost in all parts of India, and pickled too. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.

The lotus plant is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:

“One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.”
—Bhagavad Gita 5.10:

In Chinese culture Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi wrote:

“I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.”

Boiled, sliced lotus roots used in various Asian cuisines. In South Indian states, the lotus stem is sliced, marinated with salt to dry, and the dried slices are fried and used as a side dish. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, this end product is called ” Thamara Vathal”. In Sri Lanka, finely sliced lotus rhizome cooked with coconut milk and spices is a popular curry known as Nelum Ala . In Vietnam, the bitter tasting germs of the lotus seeds are also made into a tisane.

The flavonol miquelianin (Quercetin 3-O-glucuronide), as well as the alkaloids (+)-1(R)-coclaurine and (−)-1(S)-norcoclaurine, can be found in the leaves of N. nucifera. The plant also contains nuciferine and aporphine.