One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A lotus with huge leaves and solitary large flowers that grow on stalks that can extend 6 feet (2 m) above the surface of the water.
Genus Nelumbo, family Nelumbonaceae: two species, the American lotus and the sacred lotus (see lotus)
- ‘Lotus or nelumbos are grown in a similar fashion to tropical waterlilies.’
- ‘The nelumbos differ from the nymphaeas in their botanical make-up and they are grown in eastern countries on account of the economic value of the roots and seeds which are eaten.’
- ‘The American species N. lutea, known as water-chinquapin, water-nut, duck acorn, and nelumbo, is a native of the eastern parts of the USA (but rare in the north) and of the south from Florida to Texas.’
- ‘Widespread though reverence for the lotus has been, most of our knowledge concerning the early uses of water plants has come from ancient Egypt, where nymphaeas, nelumbos, and papyruses in particular are widely represented on tomb wall paintings, found as dried blossoms in sarcophagi, and reproduced as decorative elements on pillars and columns in architecture.’
Modern Latin, from Sinhalese neḷum̆ba.
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