image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew | Licence: All Rights Reserved
image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew | Licence: All Rights Reserved

Nelumbium speciosum Willd.

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From the Collection


Watercolour on paper. Watercolour illustration commissioned by William Roxburgh. ROX663. In 'Flora Indica', Roxburgh gives a report of this species: "I have met with only two sorts on the coast of Coromandel, one with rose-coloured flowers, the other with flowers perfectly white, and since that time a third variety has been brought from China with smaller rosy flowers. They grow in such sweet water lakes, as do not dry up during the driest season, and on the coast, flower all the year round. In Bengal they flower during the hot season, April, May and June, and ripen their seed about the close of the rains". Roxburgh later mentions another variety from China, a "beautiful bright crimson variety, which they call Hung-lin", which he has only seen in a drawing. He finishes by explaining the uses of this plant: "The tender shoots of the roots between the joints of both sorts are eaten by the natives, either simply boiled or in their curries. The seeds are eaten raw, roasted or boiled. The leaves are used to eat off instead of plates. These holy and beautiful plants are often met with in the religious ceremonies of the Hindoos under their Sanscrit name Padma." Roxburgh, 'Flora Indica' (1832) v.2, p.647.

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Kolkata, West Bengal, India