Nymphaea pubescens Willd.
Common Name: White Lotus
White lotus is a herbaceous plant with a perennial rootstock growing from the bottom of ponds and lakes, producing a rosette of large leaves that float on the surface of the water.
This plant was one of the most important plants in ancient Egyptian art, ritual, food and medicine, with all parts of the plant being utilized[
]. The plant is still often used, especially in China and India, as a source of food and medicines, whilst it is also widely grown as an ornamental plant[
Tropical Africa, E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Australia.
Ponds in hillsides of southern China[
]. A water plant of sheltered still water 0.5 - 2.5 metres deep, also in swamps and fringes of Lake Victoria, at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres in Tanzania[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in tropical and subtropical areas[
Grows best in a rich soil in still water at least 30cm deep[
]. Requires a position in full sun[
]. If the soil is too rich, or the water too deep, then flowering can be inhibited[
Roots - raw or cooked[
]. Boiled and eaten as a starchy vegetable[
]. It can also be dried then ground into a flour, which can be used to make porridge[
Flower stems - raw or cooked[
Seed - cooked. The seed can be ground into a powder and mixed with flour for making cakes etc[
]. They can also be roasted, put in curries or pickled[
Unripe fruits are eaten raw in salads[
The white lotus is a soothing, astringent herb that has diuretic and tranquillizing effects, and is reputedly detoxicant and aphrodisiac[
]. It is most commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine[
The root is taken internally in the treatment of dyspepsia, enteritis, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, urinary problems, fevers and insomnia[
]. The roots are harvested when the plant is dormant and can be used fresh or dried[
The flowers are taken internally in the treatment of palpitations[
]. The flowers are harvested when open and used fresh in infusions[
The juice of the fruits is taken internally in the treatment of blood in the urine from snake bites - it is usually combined with Setaria italica and salt[
The seeds, crushed in water, are an old remedy for diabetes[
Seed - needs to be kept moist prior to sowing. Sow seed, together with the surrounding pulp, in pots covered by about 25mm of water at 23 - 27c[
]. Prick out into individual pots when the first floating leaves appear and gradually raise the water level as they grow[
Division, or the removal of a portion of the rhizome with a sprouting eye[
]. Pot up into a small immersed pot and pot on as the plant grows until the roots fill a 10cm pot, by which time it is large enough to plant out[
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