Nelumbo is a genus of water flowers commonly known as lotus and the only genus in the family Nelumbonaceae.
Nelumbo is what is most commonly meant by the rather ambiguous term lotus.
Nelumbo is superficially similar to but unrelated to the water-lilies of the family Nymphaeaceae. The leaves of Nelumbo can be distinguished from those of genera in the Nymphaeaceae as they are peltate, that is they have fully circular leaves.
Nymphaea, on the other hand, have a single characteristic notch from the edge in to the center of the lilypad. The central seed pod of Nelumbo is also a distinguishing feature.
Nelumbo nucifera is particularly well known as it is the sacred flower of Hinduism and Buddhism and is the national flower of India. It is also used widely in Asian cooking.
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