The Blue Lotus is known by many names including Blue Egyptian Lotus, Blue Egyptian Water Lily, Blue Water Lily, Blue Waterlily, Cape Blue Water Lily, Cape Blue Water-Lily, Cape Blue Waterlily, Cape Water Lily, Cape Waterlily, Egyptian Lotus, Lotus Lily, Royal Purple Waterlily, Water Lily, & Sacred Blue Lily.
It is native to north-eastern, eastern, and southern Africa (i.e., Egypt, Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa) and some parts of south-western Asia.
It has become widely naturalised in many countries including the coastal districts of eastern Australia (i.e., in south-eastern and central Queensland and in northern and central New South Wales) and is also naturalised in Argentina, south-eastern Brazil and on several Pacific islands (i.e., the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia and Hawaii). The leaves of the Blue Lotus are broadly rounded, 25–40 cm across, with a notch at the leaf stem. The flowers are 10–15 cm in diameter. There have been some untrue reports in literature that suggest the flowers open in the morning, rising to the surface of the water, then close and sink at dusk. Instead, the flower buds rise to the surface over a period of two to three days and when ready open during the morning and close at the end of the day.