Nymphaea nelumbo L.
Leaves 10-45 (-60) cm in diameter, reniform to orbicular, glaucous with waxy coating on the upper surface, entire, petiole 50-150 cm long, usually with scattered ± hooked spines; stipules sheathing. Flowers (10-) 15-20 cm across, pinkish red or white, peduncle almost equalling the petiole, usually beset with hooked spines. Outer tepals (perianth lobes 4), persistent, 15-30 x 20-25 mm, ovate, entire, acute; inner tepals (series of 10-16 lobes), 70-100 x 35-45 mm, elliptic, distinctly parallel veined. Stamens c. 25 mm long, anthers 12-15 mm long with a conspicuous fleshy c. 5 mm long appendage. Flowering receptacle 20-25 x 18-22 mm, broad at the top. Carpels c. 10 mm long, fruiting receptacle 40-50 x 45-60 mm. Nuts 10-13 x 6-7 mm, oblong, dark brown to blackish.
Fl. Per.: Almost throughout the year.
Type: "Flab. in Chinae, Indiae, persiae aquis".
Distribution: Australia, S. E. Asia extending upto Iran and South Russia through Indian subcontinent.
The flowers are very large and showy and considered sacred by Hindus. Whole plant is holy to Budhists. The flowers and pedicels are used as a cardiac and hepatic tonic. The seeds are used for cutaneous diseases and also eaten raw. The rhizome is also eaten as a vegetable. The powder of the rhizome is used medicinally. Widely cultivated in Kashmir for its honey.