07 March 2008

Grow your own Lotus

I just saw this product over at Urban Oufitters, a "Grow Your Own Lily Pad" kit from DuneCraft. The product description is as follows:

"Grow your own giant flowering lily pad! Truly amazing, this type of lily pad can grow in up to four feet of water, can spread to take up large amounts of a shallow pond, and each pad can grow as large as two feet wide! This fantastic plant also has the largest flower of any plant in North America! The light yellow flowers even smell good! Plants sprout and grow in water! Just drop your seeds in the included bowl (supply your own water...) and watch in awe as they sprout in less than two weeks! Roots will start forming a couple of weeks later, and before you know it, you will see your own Lily Pads popping out!"

Based on the description of having light yellow flowers and looking at the seeds, this has to be seeds of Nelumbo lutea, the American lotus. The picture to the left is a close up of the inside of a N. lutea flower I saw while in Florida.

Lotus leaves are easily distinguished from other water lilies because they are entirely circular and do not have a notch where the petiole attaches (so the drawing on the box is not accurate). They do have large flowers, about 6" wide, but I have no idea if this is actually North America's largest flower like they claim (I did find one site that claims this).
(Left: Nelumbo leaves, Right: Nymphaea leaves)

I'm tempted to buy one just to see if this is easy as they claim, especially just using the supplied blue decorative rocks and no soil.

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