This introduced perennial plant is an emergent aquatic that produces individual leaves and flowers directly from the root system. The blades of the leaves either float on the surface of the water, or they are held up to 6' above the water surface by their petioles (often the latter). These circular peltate blades are ¾2½' across, medium green or blue-green, and hairless. Their margins are smooth, often undulating up and down. Each leaf blade above the water surface is depressed toward the middle where it is joined by the petiole. Many veins radiate from its center in all directions; these veins become forked as they approach the outer margin of the blade. The stout petioles are light green, terete, hairless, and either smooth or somewhat prickly. The interior of each petiole contains hollow chambers that keep the petiole erect and convey oxygen to the root system. Individual flowers are held up to 6' above the water surface by their peduncles (flowering stalks). Each flower is 4-8" across, consisting of about 15 pink tepals, a golden yellow receptacle, and a dense ring of golden yellow stamens (although the anthers are often white). The receptacle, which is located in the center of the flower, is shaped like an upside-down cone. Along its flat upper surface, there are 15-35 short styles that look like small bumps. The blooming period occurs during the summer and can last 2-3 months. The short-lived flowers open up during the morning and begin to lose their petals by the afternoon; they have a pleasant fragrance. Each flower is replaced by a seedpod spanning 3-4" across and ¾" deep; this seed pod becomes dark brown at maturity. Along the upper surface of the seedpod, individual seeds are exposed in small chambers. Eventually, each seedpod bends downward to release its seeds into the water. The root system has thick rhizomes with fibrous roots. Sacred Lotus spreads by its rhizomes or seeds; it often forms sizable colonies.