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Sunday, March 4, 2012
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling water lilies, commonly known as lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus (N. nucifera) is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two. It is commonly cultivated, and also used in Chinese medicine and cooking. This species is the national flower of Egypt, India and Vietnam. The American lotus (N. lutea) is native to North America and the Caribbean. Horticultural hybrids have been produced between these two geographically separated species.
A third, extinct species, N. aureavallis, is known from Eocene fossils from North Dakota, United States.