An aquatic perennial, the lotus grows from root-like rhizomes that form in the bottom of shallow ponds and marshes, producing leaves and flowers that rise above the water. The species featured on these stamps are the pink and white sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and the creamy yellow American lotus (Nelumbo lutea).
The national flower of India and Vietnam, the sacred lotus is a symbol of divine beauty that carries deep religious significance for Buddhists and Hindus. It is native to tropical and temperate regions of Asia and Australia.
Rare and threatened, the American lotus needs warmth and sunshine to survive. Its northern grow limits are the shores of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair in southern Ontario, with other populations found in wetlands across the eastern United States and as far south as Honduras.