Lotus Flowers – Introduction
Lotus flowers are one of the most historically significant blossoms in the world. Universally popular, these aquatic plants were commonly revered or included in religious ceremony. In more modern times, they are still viewed highly, and make a popular addition to a water garden under favorable conditions.
The natural range is fairly large, with species being found as far west as Afghanistan and throughout nearly all of Asia. It is foremost in these Asian cultures that lotus flowers play an important role. The primary use at the time was ornamentation, as the mature blossoms are well-known for their beautiful appearance.
The plants also provide for food, with the flowers, seeds, young leaves and rhizomes all being edible. The rhizome in particular is most often consumed, and can commonly be found in Chinese soup recipes. The seeds can be eaten fresh or dried and popped, much like modern popcorn.
Lotus Flowers – Religious Significance
Lotus flowers are extremely prominent in Hindu religion. This is a fact illustrated by the present-day status of the lotus as the national flower of India.
Hindus associate them with creation myth and with the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and the goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati. The blossoms have played an important part in the religion since the earliest days. They are often used as an example of divine beauty, and comparisons to lotus flowers amongst the gods are common.
The unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The fact that something so beautiful grows out of the muddy water touches upon many spiritual levels. Brahma and Lakshmi, the divinities of potency and wealth, usually have lotus flowers associated with them. In Hindu iconography, gods are often shown as seated upon the flower as a throne.
Borrowing from Hinduism, in Buddhism, lotus flowers represent purity of body, speech, and mind as they float above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. The Buddha is often depicted sitting on a giant lotus leaf or blossom. According to legend, he was born with the ability to walk and everywhere he stepped, lotus flowers bloomed in his wake.
Lotus Flowers – Additional Information
The roots of lotus flowers are planted in the soil at the bottom of a pond or river. The leaves float on top of the water surface. The flowers are found on thick stems rising several inches above the water. The plant normally grows up to a height of about five feet.
The sees of lotus flowers are remarkable specimens in that, if kept in optimal conditions, they are potentially immortal. Seeds that have been preserved for hundreds of years have been successfully planted and grown. In one astonishing case, a seed 1,200 years old from China was grown into a mature plant.
Biological study seems to indicate that the seeds have no weak genetic links, which means that they are capable of withstanding the test of time. Of course, this is only in optimal conditions. Exposure to cold or the wrong situations will kill the seeds.
Lotus Flowers – Where to View
The best places to view the lotus flowers out of their natural environment are botanical gardens that have special facilities set up to allow for growth. Water and heat are both required in abundance, as this plant cannot survive in cold climates. As a result, it is nearly impossible to grow a lotus garden in your backyard.
The Chinese have a saying that if you see a blossoming lotus, you’ll never forget it in your entire life. Indeed, these magnificent plants are both breathtaking and beautiful, and are definitely the highlight of many gardens around the world.
Lotus Flowers – Conclusion
Lotus flowers make a great gift. Once harvested, if kept in agreeable conditions the flower will stay fresh for a long enough time to add to an arrangement, meaning that you can create a bouquet or basket of flowers featuring the lotus. Any recipient will be sure to love this unique and exotic gem of the Orient
You can often find lotus arrangements at a florist’s shop or online on their website, and can arrange for delivery for holidays or occasions like with any other displays.
If you’re looking for an artificial arrangement, the lotus makes an excellent choice. Being able to preserve the likeness of this flower over an indefinite period is highly valued by many people.
Lotus-themed decorates and gifts are also very popular. You may wish to consider clothing or decorative objects patterned after the blossom for an elegant and delicate touch to your personal fashion.
For more information about the lotus, many books have been written on the subject. Your local library will have a wealth of helpful resources. In addition, your local florist will be able to tell you about the historical and religious significance behind the blooms.
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