Saturday, August 25, 2012

Water Lily And Lotus - Photos And Haiku

Water lily 睡蓮 suiren - "sleeping lotus" - and lotus 蓮 hasu are two different flowers. I learnt that in Japan. Water lily is what Claude Monet painted.

Hasu is a summer kigo 季語 "season word" in a haiku.

This is a poem by Yosa Buson, from the Edo period:
蓮の香や hasu no ka ya
水をはなるる mizu wo hanaruru
茎二寸 kuki ni sun
"The flagrance of lotus flowers, above the water, the stems are two sun long."
Sun is a dimension of about 3 cm. And the poet says that the perfume of the lotus is the best when the stem grows about 6 cm above the water.

These are water lilies:

Because the lotus grows from the mud on the bottom of ponds and raises towards light, it is considered as a symbol of enlightment. Lotus Sutra is one of the most famous in Mahayana Buddhism.

In Japan, the root of the lotus (rhizome) is used as a vegetable. It is called renkon 蓮根. It is the round thing with holes.

In early spring, the lotus pond looks like this:

And a paper lotus - origami:


  1. It was really interesting to read about these flowers! (^ _ ^)

    I know something about Lotus flower. It's known this flower is a symbolism of buddism because of its purity and immaculacy and blooms in mud and inhospitable environment. As you said, means an enlightenment. ^^

    I ate this "round thing with roles" and did not know it was a lotus' rhizome. (o . O) I thought was a different kind of takenoko (bamboo shoot). (^ _ ^)

  2. I read that all the plant is edible, when it comes to lotus - even flowers, seeds. I have tried only the root though.

    You know, there is a style of dance called Takenoko-zoku ("The Bamboo Shoot Tribe"). :-)
    It used to be popular at some point.