MARK DE FRAEYE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK DE FRAEYE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sacred lotus flowers. The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a member of the water-lily family, but differs from most other water-lilies by producing leaves which are held above water level. The flowers last for one day only, and the seeds may germinate after many years dormancy. The sacred lotus is grown in the Far East for food. The seeds can be eaten raw, pickled or cooked and the rhizomes (roots) are used in many dishes, particularly in Japan. The plant has been held sacred in India and China from early times because Buddha is supposed to have been born in the "heart of a lotus". Photographed at Daewonsa temple, South Korea.
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