Lotus flowers are beautiful in both appearance and smell. Lotus is symbol of purity. Starting life as a seed, it grows in the muddy darkness at the bottom of a pond. The darkness is like our ignorance - we can't clearly see the truth about life. The seed grows toward the warmth and light of the sun just as humans naturally grow toward the warmth of love and compassion, and toward the light of truth. The mature flower floats on the surface, bathing in the full light of the sun, well 'anchored' but moving freely according to the flow of the water - the changing current of any situation.
This year, I took pictures of lotus flowers from three different places in Missouri: the Japanese Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden, the lotus pond at MABA, and wild lotus at Busch Corservation Nature Center .
Lotus at the Japanese garden and at MABA are sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). N. nucifera is native to a huge area from modern Viet Nam to Afghanistan, being spread widely as an ornamental and food plant. It is the National Flower of India.
The lotus at Busch Nature Center are yellow lotus (aka American lotus) (Nelumbo lutea). This lotus is native to America and growing wild in many areas in the USA.
More pictures and information about lotus can be found at the lotus page.