Sit back and relax: Lotuses and lilies


York, Pa. (WHTM) — Lotuses and lilies share space in a little backyard pond.

This video’s a three-parter; we start with a wide shot, then go to a close-up of water bouncing off a lotus leaf, and finally show the water on the lotus leaf in slow motion. You’ll want to watch it all the way through.

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse lotuses and lilies. Both grow in the water, and both have large, round, green leaves. So how do you tell them apart? The easiest way is to just take a closer look at those leaves. Lotus leaves are complete circles, but lily leaves (or pads, as they’re sometimes called) have a v-shaped notch, which makes them look somewhat like a large green Pac-man.

The difference becomes more obvious as the growing season progresses. Lily pads will float on the water during their entire life cycle. (Yes, frogs will sit on lily pads.) Lotus leaves, on the other hand, will start growing out of the water on stiff, heavy stalks, sometimes as much as 3 1/2 feet above the waterline. At this point, they will have a shape sort of like an upside-down umbrella.

Parts of the lotus are edible. You can eat the seeds like nuts, or grind them into flour. The roots can be baked, somewhat like a sweet potato. The leaves and stems can also be eaten.

No such luck with the water lilies. Most parts of a water lily plant contain an alkaloid called nupharin and are extremely toxic if eaten. They’re strictly for looking at.

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