Let’s explore a plant that lives on the water! This plant’s scientific name is Nelumbo nucifera. This plant’s common name is Sacred Lotus. Look closely at the photos and videos below. What do you notice? How do you think this plant has adapted to survive in its environment?
Scientific Name: Nelumbo nucifera (neh-LUM-boh noo-sih-FER-uh)
Common Name: Sacred Lotus
Spongy Tissue in Stems and Leaves. This spongy tissue helps the plant move the oxygen in the air down to the roots.
Floating, Horizontal Leaves. Horizontal leaves that float on the surface expose as much of the leaf surface as possible to the sun. Water reflects light, so leaves underwater get less light than leaves on the surface. Floating horizontal leaves help plants capture as much sunlight as possible for photosynthesis.
Emergent Leaves. Water reflects light, so leaves underwater get less light than leaves on the surface. Emergent leaves are leaves that rest on the top of the water. This adaptation helps plants capture as much sunlight as possible for photosynthesis.
Which color do you think best matches the leaves of this plant?
Questions & Prompts
What do you observe?
What do you wonder?
Imagine touching this plant. What would it feel like? Do you think different parts of the plant feel different?
If you could ask this plant one question, what would you ask?
This plant’s common name (or nickname) is Sacred Lotus. Why do you think people chose this common name? What common name (or nickname) would you give to this plant? Why?
What do you think would happen to this plant if it were transplanted to a desert? Why do you think that?
What colors do you see on this plant? Do you see any of these greens? Can you recreate these colors using art supplies?
Be an engineer! Study the adaptations that help this Lotus survive in the water. Create an invention to help people survive in the water. Your invention should use the same features that the Nelumbo nucifera uses. What does your invention do? Is your invention sustainable?
Be an artist! Create an abstract artwork based on this plant’s features. When you’re done, write a label for your artwork.
Be an artist! Create a pattern artwork based on a plant part pattern you see. When you’re done, write a label for your artwork.
Be an artist! Create a work of botanical art for this plant.
Write from the perspective of a pond animal (you choose which animal). The animal encounters this plant for the first time. What do they think? What do they notice? What do they do?
Resources and References
“Nelumbo Nucifera.” n.d. Accessed June 7, 2021. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c547.
“Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed June 7, 2021. http://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:605422-1.
“Nelumbo Nucifera Sacred Water Lotus, Sacred Lotus PFAF Plant Database.” n.d. Accessed June 7, 2021. https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Nelumbo+nucifera.