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Nelumbo nucifera, also known as the Indian lotus, sacred lotus, Indian bean, Egyptian bean or lotus for short, is one of the two existing aquatic plants in the water lily family. It is commonly known as water lily. In favorable circumstances, the seeds of the aquatic perennials may survive for many years, and the oldest recorded germination of lotus originated from the 1300 year old seeds recovered from the dry lake bed in Northeast China.

It has a very wide primary distribution, from central and Northern India (1400 m or 4600 ft above the southern Himalaya mountains) to northern Indochina and East Asia (north to Amur River area); sometimes referred to as Russia's "Nelumbo komarovii", which is remote in the Caspian Sea. Today, the species also occurs in southern India, Sri Lanka, almost all Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Northern and eastern Australia, but this may be the result of human translocation. Its edible seeds have been cultivated for a long time (about 3000 years), usually in water gardens. It is the national flower of India and Vietnam.

Lotus is often confused with water lilies (water lilies, especially the "Blue Lotus"). In fact, some older systems (such as the Bentham & hooker system (widely used in the Indian subcontinent)) refer to lotus flowers through their old synonyms of Nymphaea Nelumbo. However, this is not correct in taxonomy. Nymphaea and Nelumbo do not belong to the same family, but members of different levels (Nymphaeales and Proteales respectively).

Although all modern plant taxonomic systems agree that the species belongs to the genus Nelumbo, they disagree on which family it should be placed in or whether it should belong to its own unique family and order. According to the APG IV system, due to genetic comparison, n. nucifera,N。 Lutea and its extinct relatives and Proteales belong to Proteales. Earlier systems, such as Cronquist, ranked n. nucifera and its close relatives in nymphaeles according to anatomical similarity.

The lotus is rooted in the soil at the bottom of a pond or riverbed, while the leaves float or stay above the water. Flowers are usually found on thick stems, which are several centimeters higher than the leaves. The plant usually grows to a height of about 150 cm, with a horizontal spread of up to 3 meters, but some unconfirmed reports say it is as high as 5 meters. The diameter of a leaf may be as high as 60 cm, while the diameter of a showy flower may be as high as 20 cm.

Like humans and other warm blooded animals, lotus flowers have excellent ability to regulate flower temperature in a narrow range, the researchers report. [6] Roger S. Seymour and Paul Schultze Motel, physiologists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, found that lotus blooms in Adelaide botanical garden maintain a temperature of 30-35 ° C (86-95 ° f) even when the air is in circulation. The temperature drops to 10 ° C (50 ° f). They suspect that flowers may be doing this to attract cold-blooded insect pollinators. The research published in the journal Nature and philosophy transaction: bioscience in 1996 and 1998 has made important contributions to the field of plant temperature regulation and heat generation. Two other species known to regulate their temperature are syplocarpus foetidus and Philodendron selloum.

A lotus can survive for more than a thousand years, and has the rare ability to revive after stagnation. In 1994, the seeds from the sacred lotus successfully germinated. The age of the seeds is about 1300 years ± 270 years.

The traditional sacred lotus is only remote from the blue water lily, but its chemical properties are similar. Both water lilies and water lilies contain alkaloids such as hydroquinone and caffeine.

The genome of sacred lotus was sequenced in May 2013.