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Nelumbo nucifera cultivars


Nelumbo nucifera cultivars

Family Name: Nelumbonaceae
Common Name: Lotus, Sacred Lotus

Lotus cultivars are emergent aquatic plants up to 2 m tall. There are 3 main types of cultivars grown for their ornamental flowers, fruit (commonly known as lotus seeds) or rhizomes (often called lotus roots). Most parts of the plant are edible.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Species Epithet Type
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Emergent)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1.2 m to 2 m


Native Habitat Aquatic
Preferred Climate Zone Temperate, Tropical
Local Conservation Status
CITES Protection False

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Aquatic perennial with emergent leaf stalks up to 2 m tall.
Roots Although the rhizome is commonly referred to as the lotus root, it is actually an underground horizontal stem. True roots and new shoots are produced by the rhizome.
Foliage The centre of the round, leaf blade is attached to a leaf stalk up to 2 m tall. Leaves repel water because of microscopic structures on the leaf surface. As the water droplets fall off, they collect dirt which helps to cleanse the leaf.
Flowers Large, showy flowers up to 30 cm wide are borne singly on stalks up to 2 m tall. The flowers last for about 3 days, closing at night and re-opening the following morning.
Fruit The fruit is a multiple fruit composed of several nutlets which are commonly known as lotus seeds. They are embedded in an inverted cone-shaped receptacle (5-8 cm wide) which is called a seed cup and located at the centre of the flower.
Similar Although Lotus and Water Lilies (genus Nymphaea) look similar, they are not closely related plants. Lotus leaves are round like those of Water Lilies, but a Water Lily leaf has a single, deep notch which Lotus leaves do not have. Water Lily leaves also float on the water surface, while Lotus leaves are emergent, standing erect with the leaf blade held well above the water surface. Water Lily flowers either float (temperate lilies) or rise up to 15-20 cm above the water (tropical lilies), while Lotus flowers may be 2 m above the water.
Cultivation Lotus cultivars grow best in full sun, but tolerate slight shade. They are best grown by planting the rhizome under 3 cm of soil that lies under still water 0.6 - 1.4 m deep. Although they also grow by collecting and sowing seed, the next generation could be different from the original cultivar type. Lotus is a heavy feeder that should be fertilised monthly. It can be propagated by dividing the rhizome which should be done every 3 years to maintain plant vigour. Lotus is generally pest- and disease-free, but occasionally aphids, mites and blight can cause problems. The leaves are sensitive to chemicals, so cultural control methods should be tried first.
Etymology The genus Nelumbo is derived from the plant's name in Sri Lanka, while the specific epithet nucifera means nut-bearing.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Stems, Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): The rhizome is prepared in a variety of ways including frying, stuffing, pickling and boiling. The rhizome is especially popular as a banquet food. In India, flowers and leaves including their young, tender stalks are eaten as a vegetable. (Herb and Spice): In Korea, different types of herbal tea are prepared from the seed cup, fruit, rhizome and flower.
Medicinal: In traditional Asian folk medicine, lotus flowers are used to stop bleeding, while lotus seeds are used to treat digestive ailments like diarrhoea. However, there is currently a lack of strong clinical evidence to support these uses. 
Cultural / Religious: The lotus symbolises purity in Buddhism and divinity in Hinduism. In Thailand, Buddhists make offerings of lotus flowers at temples. Chinese people see the Lotus as a symbol of longevity, because its seeds can remain viable for more than 1000 years.
Others: In Asian cuisine, the dried lotus leaves are used as a food wrapper for steaming rice, vegetables and meat.

Landscaping Features

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s)
Foliar Venation Dichotomous
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Pink, White, Red
Flower Texture(s) Wrinkled
Flower Grouping Solitary

Image Repository



Master ID 34055
Species ID 8471
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: 26 May 2021.