• Lotus Flower

    Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens

    District of Columbia

Freshwater Plants

A spring flower of the nuphar, a species older than North America
This is the flower of the nuphar, a species older than North America and the probable ancestor of both lotus and water lilies around the world.
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Water lilies share many characteristics with their cousins, the lotus, and common ancestor, the nuphar.
These winter hardy water lilies have a cleft in their leaf like the nuphar and the lotus where the cleft has sealed.  Like the nuphar the leaf is leathery, and like the lotus there are rings of stamens.
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A singe ovary and sealed cleft in the leaf and taller growing habit are characteristic of the lotus.
The lotus grows tall in the ponds shading out its cousin the water lily.  The leaves have waxy bubbles that shed water.  Both water lilies and lotus have a cleft leaf, but in the lotus the cleft has sealed.  Like the nuphar it produces seed in a multi-chambered ovary at the center of the flower.
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