Nelumbo Nucifera (The Lotus Flower)
By: Astha Singh
This beautiful Lotus flower is almost done unfolding.
This unique Lotus flower has barely unfolded.
This Lotus has bloomed.
The importance of the Lotus flower
The lotus flower is very important to the environment and the animals. The flowering sequence, of the lotus, helps the environment. Lotus flowers have a three or four day life span. On the first day they open, they open only partially, exposing the tips of the stamens, which are not yet releasing pollen but are releasing scent. The stigmas are sticky and ready to receive pollen, and pollinators can enter. The flower petals tightly close at twilight, reopening fully to the bowl shape on the second day. Now the stamens are releasing pollen and the stigmas are still receptive, and the flowers are wide open to visiting insects. The petals close again at the end of the day, but not as tightly. On the third day the flower opens again, but the stigmas are dry and the stamens begin to wilt. On subsequent days the petals and stamens fall off, leaving only the receptacle with the developing seeds.
Annual / Perennial
The Lotus plant is an aquatic perennial, native to southern Asia and Australia and most commonly cultivated in water gardens. Lotus flowers enjoy warm sunlight and are intolerant to cold weather. This is why the Lotus is not seen blossoming in the winter.
Where is the Lotus flower found?
Lotus is a type of floating aquatic plant of the genus Nelumbo. Lotus originates from southern parts of Asia and Australia, but it can be found in aquatic cultures throughout the world today. It is also known as Indian lotus because it represents a national flower of India.
Vascular / Non-vascular
The Lotus flower is a vascular plant. Vascular plants have vessels to transport water and food throughout the plant. Also the Lotus has roots, which is also a characteristic of a vascular plant.
The lotus opens up with 4-5 petals, as shown above
Monocot / Dicot
The lotus is considered among the dicots, but it certainly has monocot characteristics. One example might be, the structure of the seeds. The cotyledons are covered by a shell-like structure with characteristics similar to a monocot plant. Also, the Lotus opens up with 4-5 petals, which is a trait of a dicot plant. According to current studies, it is suggested that the ancient lotus plant is a dicot but has a close relationship to the monocots.
The stem structure
The Lotus is low-growing woody shrub with a woody base. The lotus has long stems, which contain air spaces to maintain the buoyancy. The Lotus flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeters above the water.
The plant has its roots firmly in the mud and sends out long stems to which their leaves are attached. The roots of the Lotus are planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom.
Most lotus flower leaves float on top of the waters surface. The beautiful and fragrant Lotus flower opens in the morning and petals fall in the afternoon.
As you can see the female parts are located in the center of the flower
The reproductive parts are in the middle of the flower. A large receptacle resembling a shower head is centrally located and contains the female flower parts and eventually the seeds. The female flower structures, the stigmas, poke through the holes in the receptacle. The male flower parts, the stamens, are thickly set in multiple rings completely surrounding the receptacle. The stamens have yellow anthers at their ends that produce pollen, which contains protein and which pollinators need for food. The stigmas have a sticky surface so pollen grains will stick to them.