Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, “flower of Hindus and Buddhists bean of India, or simply lotus, is a plant in the Nelumbonaceae family. Botanically, Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) may also be referred to by its former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Wild.) or Nymphaea nelumbo. This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1300Â years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.
A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a water-lily (Nymphaea), an entirely different plant as can be seen from the centre of the flower, which clearly lacks the structure that goes on to form the distinctive circular seed pod in the Nelumbo nucifera. It should also be noted that water-lilies come in various colors, whereas the lotus has flowers only in hues of pink, or white.