|A Nymphaea caerulea flower.|
Nymphaea caerulea, known primarily as blue lotus (or blue Egyptian lotus), but also blue water lily (or blue Egyptian water lily), and sacred blue lily, is a water lily in the genus Nymphaea. Like other species in the genus, the plant contains the psychoactive alkaloid aporphine (not to be confused with apomorphine). It was known to the Ancient Egyptian civilization.
Reports in the literature by persons unfamiliar with its actual growth and blooming cycle have suggested that the flowers open in the morning, rising to the surface of the water, then close and sink at dusk. In fact, the flower buds rise to the surface over a period of two to three days, and when ready, open around 9:30 am and close about 3:00 pm. The flowers and buds do not rise above the water in the morning, nor do they submerge at night. The flowers have pale bluish-white to sky-blue or mauve petals, smoothly changing to a pale yellow in the centre of the flower.
Religion and art
Along with the white lotus, Nymphaea lotus are also native to Egypt. The plant and flower are very frequently depicted in Egyptian art. They have been depicted in numerous stone carvings and paintings, including the walls of the famous temple of Karnak, and are frequently depicted in connection with "party scenes", dancing or in significant spiritual or magical rites such as the rite of passage into the afterlife. King Tut's mummy was covered with the flower. N. caerulea was considered extremely significant in Egyptian mythology, regarded as a symbol of the sun, since the flowers are closed at night and open again in the morning. At Heliopolis, the origin of the world was taught to have been when the sun god Ra emerged from a lotus flower growing in "primordial waters". At night, he was believed to retreat into the flower again. Due to its colour, it was identified, in some beliefs, as having been the original container, in a similar manner to an egg, of Atum, and in similar beliefs Ra, both solar deities. As such, its properties form the origin of the "lotus variant" of the Ogdoad cosmogeny. It was the symbol of the Egyptian deity Nefertem.
Properties and uses
N. caerulea is illegal in Latvia since November 2009. It is a schedule 1 drug. Possession of quantities up to 1 gram are fined up to 280 euros, for second offences within a year period criminal charges are applied. Possession of larger quantities can be punished by up to 15 years in prison.
- List of plants known as lotus
- Nymphaea capensis, cape blue water lily
- Nymphaea lotus, the Egyptian white water lily
- Nymphaea nouchali, the star lotus
- Sacred Weeds, a Channel 4 TV series examining the effects of various psychoactive plants (including the blue lily) on volunteers
- "Nymphaea caerulea". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Forti, Kathy J. (2015-07-08). "Secrets of the Ancient Egyptian Sacred Blue Lotus - Kathy J. Forti, PhD". Trinfinity8. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
- Rawson, Jessica, Chinese Ornament: The lotus and the dragon, pp. 200 (quoted)–202, 1984, British Museum Publications, ISBN 0-714-11431-6
- Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 133. ISBN 0-500-05120-8.
- Bertol, Elisabetta; Fineschi, Vittorio; Karch, Steven B.; Mari, Francesco; Riezzo, Irene (2004). "Nymphaea cults in ancient Egypt and the New World: a lesson in empirical pharmacology". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 97 (2): 84–85. doi:10.1177/014107680409700214. PMC 1079300. PMID 14749409.
- "Par Krimināllikuma spēkā stāšanās un piemērošanas kārtību" (in Latvian). likumi.lv. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
- ‹See Tfd›(in Polish) Dz.U. 2009 nr 63 poz. 520, Internetowy System Aktów Prawnych.
- "Постановление Правительства Российской Федерации от 31 декабря 2009 г. № 1186". 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-03-25.
Media related to Nymphaea caerulea at Wikimedia Commons