Karen French Floral Designs

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Floral Designer/Consultant, Stylist & Author

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Lotus Vs Water-lily - Spotting The Difference

Hi Flower Lover,

Who hasn't been moved by the sight of a pond or giant ornamental vase filled with water-lilies or lotuses and fancied one of their own on their terrace or in their garden?

There's no doubt about it, water-lilies and lotuses make a beautiful, vibrant and tranquil addition to any outdoor space. 

These beautiful aquatic nymphs with their graceful forms, can fill anyone with serenity. But how do you distinguish between the two?

If you've always been curious, you're not alone. For a long time there was confusion even amongst taxonomists regarding the relationship between a lotus (Nelumbo) and a water-lily (Nymphaea). If the experts can't agree, it's little wonder that we find it tricky too!

It's easy at first to get these two aquatic flowers mixed up. Thankfully there are many distinctions. They're both found in water, but that's where the similarities end. They actually belong to two separate families of flowers. Their roots are different, their leaves aren't the same, the way they are planted differs and even the flowers don't resemble one another.

Luckily for us, there's a very simple, visual way to tell and that's by observing how they grow. 

So here's the tip, that'll take the guesswork out of the equation. 

The leaves of a lotus are emergent, meaning that they rise above the water level. Whereas the leaves of a water-lily are found floating on the surface of the water. 

The same is true for their respective flowers. Lotus flowers are emergent and you'll find water-lily flowers floating on the surface of the water.

Yes, it's that simple!

If you've found this tip useful, please feel free to share. 

Next week we'll be talking about Valentines Day and how romance is alive and kicking!

With flowery wishes