Shapla or White water lily, Nymphaea pubescens
Shapla or White water lily (Nymphaea pubescens, family: Nymphaeceae) is a common water plant and its flower is the national flower of Bangladesh. The plant grows from underwater soil. It is found in ponds, canals, beels and jheels along with Kolmi-lota, Keshordam, Chondromala, Chandmala, Maloncho, Jhajhidam and other Lilies in the country. The lovely aquatic plant is also found in Indian subcontinent as well as Southeast Asia. In Sanskrit literature it is mentioned as Kumuda.
Other names: Shaluk (Bang); White lotus, Hairy water lily, Pink water lily(Eng).
Petiole is very long : 60-70 cm. Leaves are round or ovate, floating on water, 15-45 cm long, edge dentate and wavy, upper side bright green and lower side reddish violet
Flower is white, reddish, or bluish. Sepals 4, elliptical-ovate, persistent, 3-9 cm long, outer side green, vertically striped; inner side bluish white. Numerous stamens surrounded the pistil at the centre of flower.
Flower usually blooms at night during rainy season. Fruit is globose, glabrous, with granular seeds inside.
It is used in dysentery, cough, vomiting, fever, gall and heart diseases. It helps the growth of sperm and breast milk. Seeds are fried to make 'khoi', which is edible. Shapla stems are eaten as delicious vegetables. If the root is not picked up completely, it is indestructible. Although this species has three different colors, it is unmistakable to say that the white one is the national flower of Bangladesh.
Synonyms: Nymphaea rubra, Nymphaea edulis, Nymphaea esculenta, Nymphaea lotus var. pubescens, Nymphaea magnifica, Nymphaea purpurea, Nymphaea rosea.
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