Sacred lotus has many similarities to and is frequently confused with Nymphaea Caerulea. Sacred Lotus has long been celebrated as a religious and mythological symbol. In both Buddhism and Hinduism the lotus has spiritual meaning. As the national flower of India, Hindus associate it with fertility, rebirth, purity and beauty. It is said that Buddhists, who view it as an object of meditation and transcendence, borrowed the symbolic significance of the flower from Hindus. Perhaps nucifera’s reputation as a symbol of fertility is best represented in its seeds’ ability to retain viability for extreme periods of time. According to the Sailsbury University Arboretum, a 1,288-year-old nucifera seed from an ancient lake bed in China is the oldest known of all seeds to germinate. Its mysticism may also be linked to the mild narcotic or sedative effects from flowers that are eaten, smoked or steeped in wine and drank. In addition to having an incredible list of medicinal applications from helping premature ejaculation to having anticancer properties to helping cramps and digestion, all parts of the plant are considered edible and appear widely in Asian cuisine. Nelumbo is a perennial blooming from July through September with little to no maintenance required. Individual plants can reach a several feet out of the water with a spread of about four feet. This variety produces huge pink flowers with characteristic round, sometimes cupping lily pads. Its native range includes much of Asia and Australia but it has been widely cultivated throughout the world, specifically in zones four through ten. Sacred lotus is a favorite of aquatic gardens particularly those in India, China and Thailand, and it is frequently paired with colorful goldfish. The dried flower pods are also popular in floral arrangements.
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