Star Lotus, Nymphaea nouchali

The Nymphaea nouchali species is a flowering water lily. The species may also commonly be referred to as the Star lotus, the Red and blue water lily or the Blue star water lily. The plant belongs to the Nymphaeaceae family.

Nymphaea nouchali can be found from the Indian subcontinent to Australia. It has been cultivated in Thailand for decorative purposes and both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have named N. nouchali the national flower.

N. nouchali is bottom rooted and its roots and stems grow to the water’s surface. The plant’s green, round leaves sit partially above water and grows approximately 8 to 9 inches. The plant flowers above the water’s surface and sits on its lily pad. Flowers are typically a bluish-purple hue and its edges may appear a reddish color. The flower produces between 13 and 15 angular petals and from above it looks like a beautiful star.

Most commonly N. nouchali is used for decoration. Its flowers create a special aquarium or ornamental pond plant.  It has been known to treat indigestion in Indian holistic medicine. Recent use of N. nouchali has proven successful in extracting antihepatotoxic and antidiabetic properties.

Image Caption: Star lotus (Nymphaea nouchali). Credit: Nguyen Tan Phat/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)