A SPECIES OF: Waterlilies
BOTANICAL NAME: Nymphaea Nouchali Var. Caerulea
DESCRIPTION: N. nouchali is a day-blooming non-viviparous plant with submerged roots and stems. Part of the leaves are submerged, while others rise slightly above the surface. The leaves are round and green on top; they usually have a darker underside. The floating leaves have undulating edges that give them a crenellated appearance. Their size is about 20–23 cm and their spread is 0.9 to 1.8 m. This water lily has a beautiful flower which is usually violet blue in color with reddish edges. Some varieties have white, purple, mauve, or fuchsia-colored flowers, hence its name red and blue water lily. The flower has four or five sepals and 13-15 petals that have an angular appearance, making the flower look star-shaped from above. The cup-like calyx has a diameter of 11–14 cm.
NAME STORY: Nymphaea nouchali, often known by its synonym Nymphaea stellata, or by common names blue lotus, star lotus, red and blue water lily, blue star water lily or manel flower is a water lily of genus Nymphaea. It is native to southern and eastern parts of Asia, and is the national flower of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In Sanscrit it is utpala. This species is sometimes considered to include the blue Egyptian lotus Nymphaea caerulea. In the past, taxonomic confusion has occurred, with the name Nymphaea nouchali incorrectly applied to Nymphaea pubescens.
INTERESTING FACTS: It was also the National flower of the former defunct Hyderabad State. N. nouchali is the national flower of Bangladesh. A pale blue-flowered N. nouchali is the national flower of Sri Lanka, where it is known as nil mānel or nil mahanel (නිල් මානෙල්). In Sri Lanka, this plant usually grows in buffalo ponds and natural wetlands. Its beautiful aquatic flower has been mentioned in Sanskrit, Pali, and Sinhala literary works since ancient times under the names kuvalaya, indhīwara, niluppala, nilothpala, and nilupul as a symbol of virtue, discipline, and purity. Buddhist lore in Sri Lanka claims that this flower was one of the 108 auspicious signs found on Prince Siddhartha's footprint. It is said that when Buddha died, lotus flowers blossomed everywhere he had walked in his lifetime. Claire Waight Keller included the plant to represent Sri Lanka in Meghan Markle's wedding veil, which included the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country. N. nouchali might have been one of the plants eaten by the Lotophagi of Homer's Odyssey.