Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus. Botanically, Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) may also be referred to by its former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Wild.) or Nymphaea nelumbo. This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China. A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a water-lily (Nymphaea), an entirely different plant as can be seen from the centre of the flower, which clearly lacks the structure that goes on to form the distinctive circular seed pod in the Nelumbo nucifera. It should also be noted that water-lilies come in colors of white to yellow where as the lotus only in hues of pink. Native to Greater India and commonly cultivated in water gardens, the lotus is the national flower of India and Vietnam.