Experimental Farm Network - Sacred Lotus

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05/17/2024 16:16:51
Sacred lotus, also called Laxmi lotus, Indian lotus, or just lotus, is a spectacular aquatic perennial often cultivated for its serene beauty, but it is also a nutritional powerhouse with delicious and enormous roots and seeds. The leaves, stems, and flowers are also consumed, though to a lesser extent. Seeds can remain viable for an unbelievably long time — one seed from a dry lakebed in China germinated at the age of 1,300 years! — so many Chinese people consider it a symbol of longevity. It also has the rare capability (among plants) of regulating the temperature of its flowers within a narrow range. One study in Australia found that lotus flowers maintained a temperature of 86-95 °F even as the surrounding air temperature dropped to 50 degrees! Scientists suspect this trait may have evolved to attract cold-blooded insect pollinators (the eastern North American native skunk cabbage is one of few other plants with a similar thermoregulatory ability).