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Nelumbo nucifera


Nelumbo nucifera

Family Name: Nelumbonaceae
Common Name: Lotus, Teratai, Sacred Lotus, East Indian Lotus, 莲, 荷花

Often found growing out of the mud in freshwater ponds, the Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a culturally significant plant in Asia. Most parts of the Lotus are edible, including the flowers, leaves and seeds. The seeds can be made into lotus seed paste, an ingredient in mooncakes; a Chinese pastry eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Asia and northeast Australia.
Native Habitat Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Roots The scared lotus with rhizomes are grow in the mud at the bottom of shallow ponds.
Foliage The large, peltate (with the leaf stalk attaching to the centre) leaves(60cm across) rise above the water surface on 1-2m long petioles.
Flowers Large(35cm across) flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeter above the leaves.
Fruit Develops above water. A conical struture with seeds, each in its own socket.
Habitat Nelumbo nucifera found in warm temperate to tropical climates, in a range of shallow wetland habitats, including floodplains, ponds, lakes, pools, lagoons, marshes, swamps and the backwaters of reservoirs.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers, Edible Stems, Edible Seeds, Edible Roots, Edible Storage Organs
Food (Fruit or Vegetable): The young leaves, leaf stalks and flowers are eaten as vegetables. The "roots" (rhizomes) are used as a vegetable in soups, stir-fried. Young lotus stems are used as a salad ingredient. The lotus seeds (called lian zi in Chinese) can be eaten raw or dried and popped like popcorn. They can be boiled with dried longans to make a dessert., or made into a paste. Lotus seed paste is the most common ingredients used in pastries such as mooncake and rice flour pudding. The large leaves are used to wrap food such as in lotus rice. (Herb or Spice): The stamens are dried and made in to herbal tea called lianhua cha in Chinese.
Medicinal: The entire plant is used medicinally the Chinese. The plant itself is prescribed as an antidote for mushroom poisoning. The rhizomes or leaves are used with other herbs to treat sunstroke, fever, diarrhoea, dysentery, dizziness, vomiting of blood, hemorrhoids. The embryonic seeds for high fever, cholera, nervous disorders and insomnia; the seeds to stop vomiting, relieve indigestion and diarrhoea or just as a tonic. The flower stalks are used for excessive bleeding from uterus. Seeds are used as tonic.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant
Landscape Uses Pond / Lake / River
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Waterlogged Soils
Soil pH Range From 5.5
Soil pH Range To 7.5
Propagation Method Seed, Division


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Green - Bluish Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery, Rough
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Orbicular / Round)
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Rhizome)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Pink
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Terminal
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) White
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Numerous (>20)

Image Repository



Master ID 963
Species ID 2257
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 19 August 2022.