Nelumbo nucifera, also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. The Linnaean binomialNelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Wild.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others. (These names are obsolete synonyms and should be avoided in current works.) This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances, its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.
Native to Tropical Asia and Queensland, Australia, it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. It is also the national flower of India and Vietnam