Difference between water lily and lotus


Water lily is an amazingly simple plant to grow.  I picked up a small pot from the nursery and put it in my small garden pond. It started to grow new leaves and sprout several beautiful purple flowers within a month.  Its a pity that the flowers do not last many days.  Nurseries carry a special round fertiliser tablet from Thailand. The trick is to bury one in the pot every 2 weeks and the plant will continue to thrive.  However, if you have expensive koi fish in the pond, you may want to elevate your pot.  Water lily also grows well under hot sun.  The three water lilies featured yet are found in Botanic Gardens. There’s an obscure corner in SBG near the Ferns Garden, with different varieties of water lilies.  This photo was sent by a friend. Thank you!

Its easy to confuse water lily and water lotus.  The leaves of the water lily rest on the water surface whilst the lotus leaves rise above the mud and the water. 


The Chinese has a saying that the lotus is able to rise above the mud and yet not tainted by the mud. The analogy is one born of dubious environment, and yet not tainted by the corrupt values of the times.  The full softness of the water lotus leaf carries a tranquil image. In the morning, when a dew drop rests in the centre of the leaf, one gets the feeling of being transported into a blissful state.   Be careful of strong winds, and silver worm, which attacks the paper-thin leaves.  The lotus plant here is from my personal collection. Flower doesnt seem to bloom. 

After the bud opens, the water lotus blossom will open, with layers of pinkish-white delicate petals – like the English rose.  Especially in the hot summer sky, a water lotus blossom is a sure delight. When the petals drop off,  a fruit pod is left behind, with tiny edible lotus seeds.  My lotus seeds are too small (because the pod is small), to be eaten.  Otherwise, the lotus seeds is used in hot desserts such as red bean soup.  The root of the lotus is also harvested.  Scrubbed off, and sliced section-wise, its boiled with pork-bones to make Lotus root soup.  My mom swears by this soup, which can help douche the fire in the belly and “cleanse the blood”.   Once, I had such bad acne attack where visits to the “beautician” for facials didnt help. My mom got advice to boil this soup every other day for me. After one week, the acne cleared.  Believe it or not.