July 05, 2011

Paradise Flowers Come Out of 2000-Year Sleep

These lotus flowers have an amazing history. Their seeds  had been latent for more than 2000 years and then one of them wakened in 1951.  Now the flowers are blooming one after another.
 A tinny creature is attracted by fragrance of a lotus flower and helping pollination.

  Dr. Ohga ,who was dedicated all his life to the study of lotus flowers, found three seeds of ancient lotus flowers dating back to 2000 years ago in 1950. He succeeded in making one of them bud.  The lotus bore flowers next year and was  named Ohga Hasu( Ohga Lotus ) after him. Since then, they have come back every  summer.

How exciting it is to admire the beauty of  the flowers which the ancient people enjoyed viewing.

A small pond, where Ohga Lotus flowers are growing, is at the botanical garden in Kasuga Grand Shrine .

Early June, I saw many tadpoles and infant frogs with tails in the pond.

The baby leave, curling from the both sides, looked like  tiny joining hands.
 " What a cute leave it is!" 

This is the first bud I found on June 13th. A gardener pointed at other tinny buds for me. And we shared the joy! There were five buds! I could not wait for the blooming of the flowers!

I wanted to see the blossoms at the best time,  so I went to a library to do some homework on lotus flowers.  I got to know how short the life of the blossom is. They live only four days.

The first day,
Around 4 am, a bud starts to burst and opens about 3 to 5cms wide. Around 8 am, it starts to close.

The second day,
At midnight, the bud starts to burst, and around 7 to 9 am the flower comes into full bloom. Till  noon, it closes again and returns to the bud.  For these two hours from 7 to 9 am, we can enjoy the most beautiful flower. Its fragrance gets the strongest to attract insects for pollination as pollens start to be released.


 The third day,
The same with the second day, but it closes loosely and does not return to the complete bud.

 The forth day,
After noon, it starts to fall.

I love not only the beauty of the lotus flowers but also the leaves.
The surface of a leave is water-shedding. Oh, can you see how gracefully drops of dew are rolling on the leave and exquisitely reflect the light! I won't be tired of viewing them.

Don't you think the leaves look like the placentas? The leaves with netlike leaf veins are similar to the placentas with netlike blood vessels in the appearance and both of them are symbolizing the vital life force.

The lotus flower is symbolic and divine in Buddhism. Even though lotus flowers grow in muddy ponds, the stalks rise high above the ponds and the flowers bloom beautifully, purely. Taking lessons from the lotus flowers, we can remain pure and unspoiled even though we live in the murky world.
Great Buddha in Todai-ji temple sits on the lotus flower pedestal.
In front of the Buddha, bronze lotus flowers are placed.

 According to what I read, in Hinduism also the lotus flowers are sacred. Brahma(the creator) was born from the lotus flower growing from the navel of Vishnu( one of  the Supreme gods) .

 Water lilies and lotuses have been often mixed up in many cultures and symbolism. 

I am getting more and more interested in lotus flowers and enchanted by them! How about you?

参考図書: 「ハスを語る」 大賀一郎著、 「蓮」 阪本祐二著

Five chicks are growing as big as their mom. The nest is too small for them.

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  1. i liked your analogy to lotus blossoms and our own human lives, rising above the muck and mire. :)

    cute little swallow babies!

  2. Your pictures are truly amazing and I also learned some things I did not know. We have water lilies here but no lotus flowers, I've never seen one of those in real life.

  3. Your main picture of the lotus is an example of total perfection in a flower. It is impossible to think of anything that could be improved about it.

    And yet, like all flowers, it does not remain perfect. Inherent in the beauty is the sense that decay will follow. But in the case of the lotus, (whose seeds last for so long), the possibility of beauty unfolding again is always there, no matter how long we have to wait.

    Perhaps this ability to wait for so many years, is one of several reasons why the lotus is so highly regarded.

  4. What an interesting story about the seeds. Such pretty pictures too!

  5. Exquisite - both the photos and your explanations of the lotus blooming. Imperfection must always be a part of Life, but the Lotus comes very close to true perfection! Here is a life lesson I'll take away with me: "we can remain pure and unspoiled even though we live in the murky world."

  6. Your blog always leaves me breathless. Such beauty. Such history. So many lessons.

  7. Like the others, your blog and photos leave me breathless! Incredible beauty and wisdom that you share with us each week is a joy I look forward to. Like texwisgirl, I love your "analogy to lotus blossoms and our own human lives, rising above the muck and mire". A lot of truth and wisdom there! Thank you for the beauty and wisdom! Hope your week is going well!


  8. Very beautiful pictures. In Hinduism also, the lotus is held sacred because of its pure, unsullied nature. The yogi is supposed to be like the leaf of the lotus, not attached to worldly pleasures.

  9. Your photos breathe such beauty! No wonder the lotus inspires poetry.

  10. Such a captivating photograph of a forest of lotus stems with the leaves overhead. Buddhism found the perfect flower to symbolize an idealistic and beautiful life. It is a paradox that the short-lived flower is born of a very ancient seed. :)

  11. MY first visit to your blog, and I am captivated by your series of lotus pictures, and your dedicated observation of their blooming pattern. I'm following you. Thanks for such an informative post. I have 2 lotus plants, and I had never observed them so closely.

  12. Lotus flowers are my favs too. You have presented their life story so well.

  13. i love lotus flowers. they are beautiful both physically & symbolically. i enjoy your photos and narratives so much.

  14. This is a wonderful post. I love the words and the photos. Beautiful!

  15. Wonderful post!! Boom & gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  16. A very beautiful series of photos!

  17. これほど綺麗な蓮の花を見たのは初めてです。ほんとに不思議な花ですね。仏様の台座に相応しいのが判りましたよ。しっぽ付きの蛙も珍しい。水滴と一緒に蓮の葉に守られて可愛いですね。開花経過中に訪れた昆虫、全てのミラクルワールドにありがとう。

  18. So interesting, snowwhite! Yes, you have me curious to learn more. I had no idea the lotus grew above the water...I think I had it mixed up with water lilies. Your photos are gorgeous! How many times did you go there to capture all the stages of the lotus flower? You caught the flower at its brightest moment and I think the photos are just fabulous :-D

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  20. Very good documentation on the lotus. Once again, your photos blew me away. The composition is beautiful and the capture -oh so perfect! So clear and full of details! Are you by any chance a pro? I had so much fun looking at your photos! :) Thank you for sharing your wonderful world, Keiko! *hugs*

  21. I messed up on my first comment, I re-posted the same comment twice, so I deleted the other one! Have a nice day, Keiko! :)

  22. Jenny Woolf,
    Thanks. Yes, I agree with you. As soon as a flower reaches the perfection stage, the decay starts. That's why the flower gets really more beautiful and this transience is deeply appreciated.
    The repeats of unfolding and closing seem to haved reminded ancient people of rebirth or resurrection.
    Before reading books about lotus flowers, I had scarcely known about them.

  23. What a stunning array of photos of lotus flowers, pads, droplets, and small creatures! I’ve never seen the photos like these.

    This post would be a painstaking record of your observations on the plant by visiting there many times or maybe lodging somewhere nearby.

    Yes, I like and am interested in lotus flowers, that’s why I chose the flower as my icon, hoping “from muddy darkness to the light of the sun” someday.

  24. Exquisitely beautiful, snowwhite!
    I suppose it took you incredibly a lot of time and work to take these photos. Thanks so much for sharing all these. They are so soothing. The Ohga Lotus is very familiar with us who live in Kanto. As Dr.Ohga was a professor of Tokyo University, he first gave his seeds to the gardens in Kanto area. Did you know Tokyo University has made perfume from the Ohga lotus and sells it? I bought a bottle of the perfume on the Hongo Campus. This lotus perfume is popular with students as well as young women in Tokyo(I'm not a young woman, though) I sometimes wear it. It is very refreshing. If I have an opportunity, I'll write a post about the perfume.

  25. Great photos - that looks wonderful. I've never seen a lotus in real life.

  26. The life of lotus flower was shorter than I thought. It may be delicate than its look.
    It's amazing that we are watching the same type in 2000 years ago.

    I like round water on the lotus leaf,too. Some years before, I ate Japanese food that imitated water on the lotus at Gion,Kyoto around Gion Festival. The round water was made by jellied fish broth. I felt coolness and I thought it's good idea.

  27. Aka Penelope
    You are right. I hadn’t thought about that. A seed has extremely long life and a flower has an extremely short life.

    My garden haven
    Thank you very much for your kind comment.
    I’m sorry I could not reach you. Blogger have had system troubles several times.
    And maybe this is one of them. Would you leave your blog address here?
    I want to visit your blog. Thanks.

    I visited here eight times in June and July.
    The biggest problem is that there are too many mosquitoes in this garden.

    All photos of Ohga Lotus flowers were taken in Man-yo Botanical Garden. It opens at 9 o’clock, so I went there at 9 and took photos. Around 10:30, they had already started to close the buds; it was obvious. But it was fun for me to see the moment of this transience.

  28. Sapphire,
    Oh, how wonderful it is that Tokyo University has made perfume from the Ohga lotus! I was so interested in the perfume that I ordered it to Tokyo University. I’ll get it after one week or so. ワクワクです!!I’m not young, but my motto is “stay young at heart”. I can’t wait for wearing it.

    I suppose, maybe Ohga Lotus flowers have stronger or more attractive fragrance than other lotus flowers to attract insects . I visited several places and enjoyed beauty of many different kinds of lotus flowers. Among them Ohga Lotus flowers seem to be attracting insects the most.
    Thanks a lot for very interesting information.

  29. Your photos are so beautiful that I havn´t any words left!! Stunning

  30. Wonderful and varied series frames with beautiful, delicious and exquisite lighting and transparency approaches. I wish you a happy summer.

  31. It is amazing that you took time and your energy for lotus flowers, reading about its histry and taking photos. It is surprising to know the second day is the best and only after its zenish day it starts to fall... transient beauty.

  32. Snowwhite,you never cease to surprise,what an an amazing series of exquisite images! The detail and beauty in the bubbles is astonishing and the leaves look like parasols.I always find it interesting how structures in nature mirror themselves everywhere.....in the wing of the insect,the petal,the leaf.
    I read somewhere that grain found in an Egyptian tomb was successfully germinated but I don't have details.

    Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog,it's much appreciated!
    All best wishes,

  33. With an extraordinary laborious work of Dr. Ohga, the flowers came to life again miraculously. I am happy to know the detailed process of the flower's birth and death through your amazing photography
    and explanation.
    Thank you for sharing, snowwhite.

  34. What a beautiful narrative, and what beautiful photos. Once again, I am quietly but powerfully enriched by your artistry.

  35. the symbolism of the lotus flower is so beautiful. along with your photos. I love that the seeds were ancient and yet viable to sprout and grow, continuing on now. this is a most wonderful story. your photo of the leaves from the underside is extraordinary. thanks for sharing your world snowwhite. lovely as usual. I hope you have a wonderful week.

  36. Incredible photos!!! What an outstanding job of taking "perfect" pictures. Lovely to scroll through your post. Have a wonderful weekend. Mickie :)

  37. Your photos are superb! How amazing it must be to witness the blooming of the Lotus...yes they are enchanting. Thank you for sharing the photos and information on something I never would have known about.

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  39. Ruby,
    Dr. Ohga once had tried to germinate mummified seeds of wheat kept in the British Museum. The seeds were from Egypt. But unfortunately he failed. Nowadays, technology, equipment and so on are advanced more and more. So it is possible that somebody succeeded in germinating the ancient grain. If so, I want to know what taste it is! Mystery of the life and nature is infinite and inspirational! Thanks.

  40. What exquisite shots - so delicate and gorgeous!

  41. The deep sleep...
    The petal may be sophisticated in it.

    A good view.

    Have a good weekend.

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  43. Lotus flowers are so beautiful, they are spiritually associated in Indian culture too...
    I just loved this post, a delight for the eyes.
    Have a fabulous Sunday:)

  44. there's a calm feeling when you look at the lotus.
    especially when it blooms. ^0^
    you always manage to get good shots,
    really stunning! ^0^
    your attention to detail was impeccable.
    thanks for sharing this.

  45. This is one of the most beautiful and enchanting posts ever! What a privilege to see these beautiful flowers blossoming.

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Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving warm messages. I will visit your site soon. keiko