The National Flower of Sri Lanka is Blue water lily (Nymphaea Nouchali). Its scientific name is Nymphaea. Blue water Lily belongs to Nymphaeceae family also commonly call it Nymphaea nouchali, and known by its synonym Nymphaea stellata, or by common names blue lotus , star lotus, red and blue water lily, or blue star water lily.
In the Sinhalese language known natively as Sinhala, the native language of the Sinhalese people of sri lanka call it (Manel) and Tamil name is (Nilotpalam).
The flower is a day-blooming nonliving birth plant with underwater roots and stems. Some Part of the leaves is inside the water while others rise slightly above the surface. The leaves are round and green on top they usually have a darker underside.
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The floating leaves have rolling edges that give them a strong hold appearance. Their size is about 20–23 cm and their spread is 0.9 to 1.8 m. The flower has four or five sepals and 13-15 petals that have an angular appearance, making the flower look star-shaped from above as shown in picture
This Sri Lanka national flower water lily is a beautiful flower which is usually violet-blue in color with reddish edges. Some varieties have white, purple, red blue-colored flowers, hence its name red and blue water lily.
They grow in ponds, lakes, and edges of streams, just as a lotus does. The attractive point is the vibrant color of the flower, pink, purple, yellow, or white, in cool waters, swinging in the wind.
Its popularity not limited to its beautiful look but it is also considered to be a religious symbol in many parts of the world.
10 Facts about Blue Water lily Flower: you should know
- Blue water lily is the native and popular flower of sri lanka country.
- It provides dark, shadow and hiding places for fish and other water animals. Fish, ducks, and other animals eat them, too. Some people grow it in garden ponds
- The flower has different colors . Each color has a certain meaning. White lily symbolizes purity, day lily coquetry, while tiger lily symbolizes majesty and wealth.
- It attracts insects with its large colorful flowers and tasteful fluid (juice). Certain species of lily are pollinated by the wind
- Especially white and tiger lilies are known by their beautiful smell. Other species of lily are odorless
- Several species of the flower can be used as food. Its bulb contains a lot of starch and they are used as root vegetables. Besides humans, insects, mice, squirrels and deer often eat wild lilies
- Some compounds of the plant work in inducing renal failure in cats. Even small amount of pollen can induce poisoning in cats.
- Water Lily Flower is not poisonous for humans. It is actually widely used in traditional Asian medicine for the treatment of depression and certain types of deadliness.
- The plant can survive a couple of days in the bottle (jug). Removal of the pollen from the flower will extend lifespan in the vase and prevent the development of stains on the tepals.
- This is a native and continuing plant which means that it can survive more than two years in the wild.
- It is an ornamental plant because of its attractive flowers and is most commonly used for the traditional and cultural festivals in Sri Lank.
- According to Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka, this flower was one of the 108 lucky signs found on Prince Siddhartha’s footprint
Blue water lily Flower meaning
The scientific name of this flower “Nymphaea” comes from a Greek word “nymph“, and according to the Greek tradition, it means a feminine spirit that populated water bodies like wells, waterways, and spring.
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There are variations of the symbolic meaning of water lily, based on different cultures and ceremonial practices in various countries around the world.
Another report observed from Greek tradition associates lily meaning with birth and it is a symbol of motherhood because the flower was said to be created from the breast milk of Hera.
As the story goes, Zeus (the supreme god of ancient Greek mythology) wanted Hercules (his son born from an extra-marital affair) to become a god.One way of doing this was to have him suckle at the breast of his wife, Hera.
Zeus raised the god of sleep, Somnus, to put Hera in a deep sleep while he enticed Hercules to suck at her bosom. He did this so vigorously that the milk overflowed. That which flowed heaven-wards became the Milky Way and the milk that flowed to the earth turned into a white lily.
With its three petals, the lily is often considered a trinity symbol, holding the representation of three virtues: Charity, Hope, and Faith
Why is Blue water lily the National Flower of Sri Lanka
This water plant is native in a broad region from Afghanistan, the Indian subcontinent, to Taiwan, southeast Asia, and Australia . It has been long valued as a garden flower in Thailand and Myanmar to decorate ponds and gardens. Having cultural, traditional, medicinal and other interesting built-in facts the Director of Biodiversity Secretariat Padma Abeykoon compel and call a ministerial cabinet meeting for the approval of changing Sri Lanka national flower.
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The cabinet of ministers had given approval for the change of national flower of Srilanka which was officially declared on February 1986. She said that the decision was made by the expert panel after seeing the image of different flowers displaying in comparison of blue water lily the national flower of Sri lanka country.