Lotus Flower with Dodder
(Nelumbo nucifera)

Lotus are aquatic perennials. The leaves float on the water or are held above the water. The flowers are large and last for two to three days before dropping their petals. The distinctive seed heads resemble shower heads or the spouts of watering cans. The flowers, seeds, and rhizomes are all edible. Nelumbo nucifera is the species of lotus sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.

This plant has parasitic Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) vines attached to it. Dodder plants produce little if any chlorophyll and can not photosynthesize enough support their growth. Instead the vine wraps around a host plant and produces haustoria that tap into the vascular system of the host allowing the vine to obtain nutrition from the host. In some places Dodder can be a significant agricultural pest.

The time-lapse movie shows a lotus flower opening in the morning and closing in the evening. The nutational movements of the Dodder vine are also apparent. The nutational movement allows the vine to "find" other potential host plants or parts of the original host to attach to.