Reach the World – Field Note – Nature

Originally published by Reach the World, October 30, 2015
lotus flower
Introduction:
Whenever I visit a Korean historic site or a souvenir shop, I see lotus flowers everywhere! Lotus flower lanterns, lotus flower pens, lotus flower bookmarks, and lotus flower carvings, just to name a few. The lotus flower is an important symbol in Buddhism, showing that beauty and purity can grow and flourish even in an ugly and foul environment. In Korea, the lotus flower plays a central role in art, architecture and culture.

What does this creature or plant look like?:
The lotus is an aquatic flower. That means that rather than grow in the ground, the flower grows and floats on the water. The lotus is yellow in the center. Most of its petals curve upward, but a few petals rest on the water. Imagine a teacup resting on a saucer–  that is the flower’s shape. The most common colors of the lotus flower are white and pink.How did I feel when I saw it?:
Before I saw a lotus flower floating on the water, I saw representations through art and architecture. Lotus flowers are much harder to find in nature because they are usually cultivated in water gardens or other bodies of water. When I first saw a lotus flower in a water garden in Seoul, I thought it was beautiful. I was also surprised at how big it was!

Where does it live?:
The lotus flower can be found in lakes, ponds, water gardens, and rivers. I have seen it most often in historical sites, such as old palaces or temples

How does it use its environment to survive?:
A lotus flower plants its roots in the mud of a body of water. The stem grows through the water, and the petals blossom at the surface of the water. To protect itself from the cold at night, the blossom disappears under the water and reappears at sunrise. The flower usually grows in spring and summer.What can harm this creature or plant? Are we worried about it?:
In addition to being praised for its beauty, the lotus flower is considered a delicacy. Lotus flower tea is a delicious, refreshing drink, and lotus root is a popular side dish in Korea. Though many Koreans enjoy the taste of lotus, it is not currently in danger of extinction. Many historic sites cultivate lotus flowers in water gardens, and there are festivals dedicated to celebrating and preserving the lotus flower.

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