Nymphaea caerulea | ‘Blue Egyptian Lotus’, ‘Blue Egyptian Water Lily’, ‘Blue Lily’, ‘Blue Lotus’, ‘Blue Water Lily’, ‘Sacred Blue Lily’ | Dried plant
Nymphaea caerulea is a lovely water lily of the Nymphaea genus, most commonly known as the ‘Blue Lily’ or ‘Blue Lotus’ (although it is also known by many variations, including ‘Blue Egyptian Lotus’, ‘Blue Egyptian Water Lily’, ‘Blue Water Lily’ and ‘Sacred Blue Lily’). Caeruleas’s vibrant bluish-white to sky-blue or purple flowers average ten to fifteen centimetres across and have been used variously in folk medicine, aromatherapy, and perfume-making and as incense.
Although historically considered to be native to Egypt and other parts of East Africa, the plant has also long occurred in other countries, including the Indian subcontinent and Thailand. However, it’s most frequently associated with the Ancient Egyptians, who ascribed great significance to the plant as a Sun symbol (falsely believing its flowers to close at night and open in the morning). Moreover, caerulea was associated with the passage to the afterlife, the origin of the world and the deities Atum, Nefertem and Ra, the plant and its related rituals accordingly being frequently depicted in Egyptian art and architecture. Elsewhere, in Greek mythology, the Blue Lily is considered as a strong candidate for the lotus eaten by the ‘Lotophagi’ (“Lotus-eaters”) of Homer’s ‘Odyssey’.
All botanicals, plants and seeds offered by Arkham’s Botanical was obtained from ethical sources.