Famously used as inspiration by the legendary French impressionist painter Monet – who painted an entire series depicting water lilies, one of which sold at auction for a cool $32m in 2014 – few could dispute the beauty of these exquisite, aquatic plants. Around 70 different species exist and can be divided broadly into hardy and tropical. There is also the fragrant water lily, found all over from Puerto Rico to Alaska. Hardy lilies bloom only during the day, whereas tropical water lilies are night owls. The tropical water lily, prefers to bloom in warm air and semi-tropical climates. The hardy among them are happier in chilly air, and are found mostly in the cooler, northern climates of Canada and Alaska.
It’s not just beauty that the water lily possesses either, but stamina too. The water lily seed can survive and be planted for up to 2,000 years. Holding a special place in the world of Sangam literature and Tamil poetics, it is considered a symbol of grief and separation, and is thought to evoke imagery of the sunset, the seashore, and the shark. The white water lily is the national flower of Bangladesh, while the blue variety is the national flower of Sri Lanka. If you are a July baby, then the blue variety is also your birth flower – take this as an excuse to wear it at all times and perhaps turn your bathroom into a spa. Florida has been blessed with its very own, exclusive water lily – a delightful yellow – which can also be found across the other southern states.
Topping off the many, many wonderful facts about the water lily is its health benefits. The oil is hydrating and moisturising for skin and hair and is often used in aromatherapy due to its potent and relaxing aroma.
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