The Sacred Lotus
Photograph - Photography - Fine Art
The symbolism of purity and grace . . . Chinese literati believe that a lotus is a pure world unto itself in which both body and soul are clean.
According to the book Jian Nan Shi Gao, when the Song dynasty poet Lu Yu was 78 years old, he once dreamt that an ancient spoke to him:
I am the lotus scholar and responsible for the mirror lake . . he said . . But now I am leaving, and I was wondering if you could take my place minding the moonlight, wind and dew and protecting the lotuses - Song Dynasty Poet Lu Yu
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling the water lily, but not closely related to it. It is commonly called lotus, though this name may be applied to other genera, and there is an unrelated genus Lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus (N. nucifera) is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two. It is commonly cultivated, and also used in Chinese medicine and cooking. This species is the national flower of Egypt, India and Vietnam.
There is residual disagreement over which family the genus should be placed in. Traditional classification systems recognized Nelumbo as part of the Nymphaeaceae (water lily) family, but traditional taxonomists were likely misled by evolutionary convergences associated with an evolutionary shift from a terrestrial to an aquatic lifestyle. In the older classification systems it was recognized under the biological order Nymphaeales or Nelumbonales. Nelumbo is currently recognized as its own family, Nelumbonaceae, one of several distinctive families in the eudicot order Proteales. Its closest living relatives, the (Proteaceae and Platanaceae), are shrubs or trees.
The leaves of Nelumbo can be distinguished from those of genera in the Nymphaeaceae as they are peltate, that is they have fully circular leaves. Nymphaea, on the other hand, has a single characteristic notch from the edge in to the center of the lily pad. The seedpod of Nelumbo is very distinctive.
The Sacred Lotus
Kula Maui Hawaii
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October 6th, 2013
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