Growing the Hindu Lotus
The Hindu lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)is sometimes confused with Nymphaea caerulea the ‘Blue Lily” because of the common name”Blue Lotus”.
This plant is also known as the Sacred Lotus as well as: Pink Lotus, Blue Lotus, East Indian Lotus, Sacred water lotus, Chinese Arrowroot, Lotus Bean, Lotus Root, Nelumbium, Oriental Lotus, and Sacred Water Lily.
This water plant has a lot of names!
Growing Hindu Lotus
What is clear is that this plant is listed in some of the invasive weed textbooks for the Southern states and as a garden escapee, it can become incredibly invasive in warm climates.
The fascinating thing about this plant is its storied history. This is a medicinal plant and all parts of the plant are used in one way or other. The purpose of this webpage is not to detail how to use the plant but simply point out that eating or using it is not taken lightly as science has isolated a significant number of active ingredients including lotusine, demethyl coclaurine, neferin, and nuciferine.
Legend has it that the a tribe in North Africa actually lived on cultivating the lotus. Its seeds are roasted and ground to make flour. The rhizomes are dried and ground to make a starchy flour as well.
The Hindu lotus or Sacred lotus is also the famous plant referred to in literature that has a calming effect on its users. If you’ve heard the term”lotus eaters”, this is the plant and it is either smoked or made into tea or steeped wine.
This is also the flower of Buddha, and he is often painted or sculpted sitting on a lotus blossom. I’m told the famous chant “Om! Mani padme hum!” translates as “Oh!, the jewel of the lotus flower”.
This is one of the world’s most famous flowers and is well suited for growing in our water gardens.