Despite their name, water-lilies are not related to the true lilies (family Liliaceae). The name "lily" is applied to a number of plants that are not at all closely related, such as day lilies, spider lilies and arum lilies, in addition to the water lilies. Nymphaea (Egyptian lotuses) are also not related to the Chinese and Indian lotus of genus Nelumbo, which are used in Asian cooking and sacred to Hinduism and Buddhism. However, the genus Nymphaea is closely related to Nuphar, another genus commonly called "lotus". In Nymphaea, the flower petals are much larger than the sepals, whereas in Nuphar the petals are much smaller than its sepals. The fruit maturation also differs, with Nymphaea fruit sinking below the water level immediately after the flower closes, whereas Nuphar fruit are held above water level to maturity. Both genera share leaves with a radial notch from the circumference to the petiole (leaf stem) in the centre.
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