Lilies leaves never rise above the surface.
And lotus leave rise several feat above the surface.
Two types of lilies. Tropical and Hardy. Kinda what you expect. Tropical need warm and sun and humidity to thrive. Hardy need warm and sun too bloom and grow but can withstand freezing temps and go dormant in the winter.
Tropical lillies have more star shaped flowers that rise several inches to several feet off the water surface. Often time they are fragrant. About half are night bloomers. Comes in intense pinks purples and blues. Spade shapes leaves most of the time. Sometimes completely round. Normally has slightly ruffled edges.
Tiger lotus, red lotus, and red tiger lotus. And green and etc... They are all species of tropical lilies.
Hardy lilies will bloom in colder areas and survive much tougher winters.
They tend to have smaller cup shape flowers either on or right above the surface of the water. Comes in whites, yellows, creams, peaches, pinks, and sometimes oranges.
They are my personal favorite and almost all of the pygmy varieties are hardies.. They tend to have round leaves.
Lotus have two sections as well. Asian and American.
The Asian one is found form India to China. They love heat and sun but humidity is their enemy!
They need at least 6 hours of sun a day (hence my pot location). The leaves of these plants are large round dinner plates held on thick sturdy stems. They rise several feet off the water surface. They send out large 6" - 12" flowers that are highly fragrant. The flowers smell of anise usually and last around 3 days. They rise a foot or more above the top of the leaves. They have delicate tubers and large root systems so they need a large round pot with no corners.
They now have dwarf varieties called bowl lotus. Or extreme dwarf called exquisite teacup of the bowl lotus (what I'm getting).
Giant - 7'-'9'
Normal - 5' - 7'
Semi-Dwarf - 3' - 5'
Dwarf or Bowl - 2' - 4'
Teacup - 1' - 2'
Asian lotus is naturally a soft white blushed with pink tips. It often goes creamier in the center as it ages. http://www.ag.auburn.edu/hort/landsc..._LIT_fig.1.jpg
American lotus it a soft cream colour. Almost a soft daisy. http://thewildclassroom.com/biodiver...ican-Lotus.jpg
Both have a UFO shaped stamen where the seeds will form. These range from yellow, to chartreuse, to lime green. If you leave it to dry to the plant it lasts for decades in flower arrangements. They are normally all ready by the end of the growing season. http://www.driedflowersrus.com/image...ds_stemmed.jpg
Divide these all in spring and voila! New plants..
Or you can cross your lotus and see what kind of plants the seeds produce.
I just went on a spiel... ahaha..