Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. is an aquatic perennial native to southern Asia and Australia. A 1,288 year old seed of this species collected from an ancient lake bed in China is the oldest germinable seed on record. This species is intimately linked with the Buddhist religion, symbolizing vitality and purity. Along with its ornamental value, this plant is cultivated for food and traditional Chinese medicine. Virtually all parts of the plant can be eaten. Studies of the self-cleaning properties of the leaf surface have led to the development of a self-cleaning paint called Lotusan: see the Lotus Effect.The specimen illustrated is growing in a pond behind the Honors House on Camden Avenue.