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NELUMBO is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers . Members are commonly called LOTUS, though "lotus " is a name also applied to various other plants and plant groups, including the unrelated genus Lotus . Members outwardly resemble those in the family Nymphaeaceae
Nymphaeaceae
("water lilies"), but Nelumbo
Nelumbo
is actually very distant to Nymphaeaceae. "Nelumbo" is derived from the Sinhalese word Sinhalese : නෙළුම් neḷum, the name for the lotus Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera
.

There are only two known living species of lotus; Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera
is native to Asia
Asia
and is better-known. It is commonly cultivated; it is eaten and used in traditional Chinese medicine . This species is the floral emblem of both India
India
and Vietnam
Vietnam
.

The other lotus is Nelumbo lutea
Nelumbo lutea
and is native to North America
North America
and the Caribbean
Caribbean
. Horticultural hybrids have been produced between these two allopatric species .

There are several fossil species known from Cretaceous
Cretaceous
, Paleogene and Neogene
Neogene
aged strata throughout Eurasia
Eurasia
and North America
North America
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Species

* 1.1 Extant species * 1.2 Fossil species

* 2 Classification

* 2.1 APG * 2.2 Earlier classification systems

* 3 Characteristics

* 3.1 Superhydrophobicity * 3.2 Thermoregulation
Thermoregulation

* 4 Cultural significance * 5 References * 6 External links

SPECIES

N. lutea (American lotus) Nelumbo
Nelumbo
'Mrs. Perry D. Slocum'- Dried seed pod Lotus in lake, showing leaves, buds, flowers, seed heads

EXTANT SPECIES

* Nelumbo lutea
Nelumbo lutea
Willd. – American lotus ( Eastern United States
Eastern United States
, Mexico
Mexico
, Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
, Honduras
Honduras
) * Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera
Gaertn. – sacred or Indian lotus, also known as the Rose of India
India
and the sacred water lily of Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism
Buddhism
. It is the national flower of India
India
and Vietnam
Vietnam
. Its roots and seeds are also used widely in Asian cooking.

Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera
bud

FOSSIL SPECIES

* † Nelumbo aureavallis Hickey – Eocene
Eocene
( North Dakota
North Dakota
), described from leaves found in the Golden Valley Formation in North Dakota, USA. * † Nelumbo
Nelumbo
changchangensis Eocene, ( Hainan Island
Hainan Island
, China), described from several fossils of leaves, seedpods, and rhizomes from the Eocene-aged strata in the Changchang Basin, of Hainan Island. * † Nelumbo
Nelumbo
minima Pliocene
Pliocene
( Netherlands
Netherlands
), described from leaves and seedpods that suggest a very small plant. Originally described as a member of the genus Nelumbites , as "Nelumbites minimus." * † Nelumbo
Nelumbo
nipponica Eocene
Eocene
- Miocene
Miocene
, fossil leaves are known from Eocene-aged strata in Japan
Japan
, and Miocene-aged strata in Russia
Russia
. * † Nelumbo
Nelumbo
orientalis Cretaceous
Cretaceous
(Japan), one of the oldest known species, fossils are found in Cretaceous-aged strata of Japan. * † Nelumbo
Nelumbo
protolutea Eocene
Eocene
( Mississippi
Mississippi
), fossils of leaves strongly suggest a plant similar in form to the American lotus.

CLASSIFICATION

There is residual disagreement over which family the genus should be placed in. Traditional classification systems recognized Nelumbo
Nelumbo
as part of the Nymphaeaceae, but traditional taxonomists were likely misled by convergent evolution associated with an evolutionary shift from a terrestrial to an aquatic lifestyle. In the older classification systems it was recognized under the biological order Nymphaeales
Nymphaeales
or Nelumbonales. Nelumbo
Nelumbo
is currently recognized as a only living genus in Nelumbonaceae , one of several distinctive families in the eudicot order of the Proteales
Proteales
. Its closest living relatives, the ( Proteaceae
Proteaceae
and Platanaceae ), are shrubs or trees.

The leaves of Nelumbo
Nelumbo
can be distinguished from those of genera in the Nymphaeaceae
Nymphaeaceae
as they are peltate , that is they have fully circular leaves. Nymphaea
Nymphaea
, on the other hand, has a single characteristic notch from the edge in to the center of the lily pad. The seedpod of Nelumbo
Nelumbo
is very distinctive.

APG

Foliage of Nelumbo
Nelumbo
nucifera: an example of the lotus effect after rain.

The APG IV system of 2016, recognizes Nelumbonaceae as a distinct family and places it in the order Proteales
Proteales
in the eudicot clade , as do the earlier APG III and APG II systems .

EARLIER CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS

The Cronquist system
Cronquist system
of 1981 recognizes the family but places it in the water lily order Nymphaeales
Nymphaeales
. The Dahlgren system of 1985 and Thorne system of 1992 both recognize the family and place it in its own order, Nelumbonales.

CHARACTERISTICS

SUPERHYDROPHOBICITY

The leaves of nelumbo are highly water-repellent (i.e. they exhibit ultrahydrophobicity ) and have given the name to what is called the lotus effect .

THERMOREGULATION

Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera
regulates its temperature in order to benefit insect pollinators . When the plant flowers, it heats its blossoms to above 30 °C (86 °F) for as long as four days even when the air is as cool as 10 °C (50 °F). The heat releases an aroma that attracts certain insects, which fly into the flower to feed on nectar and pollen . According to Roger Seymour and Paul Schultze-Motel of Australia’s University of Adelaide, the heat also rewards insects with a stable environment that enhances their ability to eat, mate, and prepare for flight.

CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

Main article: Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera

The sacred lotus, N. nucifera, is sacred in both Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism
Buddhism
.

REFERENCES

* ^ Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4 . * ^ A B " Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera
(sacred lotus)". Kew. Retrieved 26 July 2015. * ^ Hickey, Leo (1977). Stratigraphy and Paleobotany of the Golden Valley Formation (Early Tertiary) of Western North Dakota. Boulder, Colorado: Geological Society of America. pp. 110 & Plate 5. ISBN 0-8137-1150-9 . * ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi :10.1111/boj.12385 . ISSN 0024-4074 . CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link ) * ^ Darmanin, Thierry; Guittard, Frédéric (1 June 2015). "Superhydrophobic and superoleophobic properties in nature". Materials Today. 18 (5): 273–285. doi :10.1016/j.mattod.2015.01.001 . * ^ "Heat of Lotus Attracts Insects And Scientists". New York Times. 1996-10-01.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikimedia Commons has

.