Variety: 'Ohga Hasu'
Family Name: Nymphaceae
Synonym: Lotus, Nelumbium speciosum
English Name: East Indian Lotus
Description: Symbolic of perpetual life in Buddhism, this is a superb, strong-growing, aquatic plant with large, inside-out-umbrella-like, bluish-green leaves, up to 2 ft. across, that can be raised as much as 6 ft. out of the water, and bearing in this variety exceptionally beautiful, hauntingly fragrant flowers about 12 ins. across with the upper petals pink and the lower ones white. After the petals fall, the large, flat-topped seed pod, beloved of flower arrangers, is left. Surprisingly, such an almost tropical beauty CAN be grown outside in the milder areas of the country, particularly if some trouble is taken. The main requirement is to have the roots planted at least 1 ft. below the water surface, and to cover the pond with boards during the winter. Alternatively, it can be grown in tubs in a greenhouse. This noble plant will certainly justify any effort to grow it. One last point is that this symbol of perpetual life doesn't hang around and is an ideal plant for the really impatient gardener --if the seed is chipped (with care!) and sown in a pot submerged, say, in a small aquarium at 80°F, germination will take place in 24 hours and, within a week, leaves the size of an old fifty pence piece will be resting on the water surface. The variety 'Ohga Hasu' has a quite fascinating history. The original seeds were discovered buried in a peat layer known to be 2,000 years old at Kemigawa (near Tokyo) in 1951. Of these, only one (but not bad for a 2,000 old seed!) germinated.