"Tonle Sap" Lake K - Khmer Lotus Farm 02
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers. Members are commonly called lotus, though "lotus" is a name also applied to various other plants and plant groups, including the unrelated genus Lotus. Members outwardly resemble those in the family Nymphaeaceae ("water lilies"), but Nelumbo is actually very distant to Nymphaeaceae. "Nelumbo" is derived from the Sinhalese word Sinhalese: නෙළුම් neḷum, the name for the lotus Nelumbo nucifera.
There are only two known living species of lotus; Nelumbo nucifera is native to Asia and is better-known. It is commonly cultivated; it is eaten and used in traditional Chinese medicine. This species is the floral emblem of both India and Vietnam.
The other lotus is Nelumbo lutea and is native to North America and the Caribbean. Horticultural hybrids have been produced between these two allopatric species.
There are several fossil species known from Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene aged strata throughout Eurasia and North America.