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Common Names: Lotus, Sacret Lotus

Scientific Name: Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.

Family: Nelumbonaceae 


Genus: Nelumbo – Sinhalese name.

Species: nucifera – Latinfornutbearing


Found throughout Asia from Iran to Japan and Australia – mainly in the Top End.

Native Habitat

Warm-temperate to tropical climates, in a range of shallow (up to about 2.5 m deep) wetland habitats, including oodplains, ponds, lakes, pools, lagoons, marshes, and swamps.


Perennial rhizomatous aquatic plant. The large leaves are attached at the centre (peltate) by 1–2 metre long stalks or petioles, that usually hold them above the water. The owers are held on long ower stems, and are taller than the leaves. Flowers open for several days, but close during the night. The owers contain 2 white outer sepals, 18–28 spirally arranged white, pink, or red petals, and 200–400 stamens. In the centre of each ower is a large upside down cone shaped receptacle. When the seed pod matures, it bends downward to release its seeds into the water.


Flowering from November to January.

Location in Garden

Lotus Pond


The lotus has been grown for culinary use for hundreds of years. The leaf stalks, young leaves, rootstock and seeds are all edible.

Lotus owers are considered sacred in China, Tibet, and India and the lotus ower is symbolic in both Hindu and Buddhist religions as the lotus displays all of the different stages of growth simultaneously — bud, ower and seed pod. It is the national ower of India and Vietnam.

The Lotus has the ability to regulate the internal temperature of the owers (30 ̊- 35 ̊C) to attract insect pollinators.

Lotus plants can be grown from seed or division of the rootstock. All lotuses prefer a water depth of 40 – 60 cm and need to be grown in full sun. Seeds can remain viable for many years and seeds c. 1,300 years have been successfully germinated. These seeds were recovered from a dry lakebed in north eastern China.

Must See in the Garden

Recommended by the volunteers

Download the Must See in the Garden map to enjoy a self guided walk around the Garden. Created by our volunteers each month with seasonal highlights in mind.

Or simply visit the Information Booth at the Garden Shop at 10.30 am everyday for a free guided walk!