Lotus is a sacred flower which Cambodian chose to used for praying to God since ancient time for both Buddhism and Hinduism. Lotus symbolizes the purity and harmony of mind and spirit. People praying with lotus flower comparing to their honest prayers and pure belief in God.
In Cambodia, on every holy days of Buddhism, people would have lotus flowers to pray for Buddha God in the shrines, pagodas, and even in their own houses. Lotus for praying are lotus buds (not yet blossom). Cambodians have a special way to fold the petals of lotus buds to reveal the inner part of flower. Make it look artful and beautiful.
Cambodia has countless lotus ponds all over the country. It’s a unique beauty of Cambodia countryside views. People would be filled with delight to see the large lotus ponds with the earth smell of countryside. Cambodia has several kinds of lotus with pink, slightly pink, and white color. In most pagodas in the countryside, there is at least a pond of lotus growing. People in the city also like to have lotus growing in a large pot or vase for decoration.
In the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, we would find a white lotus growing around the statue of His Majesty Norodom.
Rumdul Flower (ផ្ការំដួល)
Rumdul or Romdul is the Khmer name for Mitrella Mesnyi. Rumdul with its three-petaled yellowish-white flower has been selected to be the national flower of Cambodia.
Rumdul flower has a very attractive scent, especially in the late evening after the sunset. Rumdul is popularly planted in Cambodia home gardens and also in public parks. It’s a big tree with the highest one is about 12m. The leaves grow so thick and great green, flowers are blossomed hidden behind the leaves. We hardly see many flowers without move aside its leaves. Only its special fragment smell that attracted people from far away.
Rumdul has become a part of Khmer literature, since Khmer authors have written their novels, poems, and songs related to Rumdul flower in the meaning compare to Khmer ladies. You might find some Khmer oldies song on youtube about Rumdul, some of them are: Rumdul Longvek, Rumdul Kratie, Rumdul Steung Songker, etc.
Cambodia people like to take the name of flowers for their daughters. Rumdul is among very popular names for Khmer girls.
Visiting the Royal Palace, after the ticket checking point, behind the bowing angels are Rumdul trees. The trees are about 2m high, since it’s still young. And you might not find its flower yet. Inside the garden of the Throne Hall and the Silver Pagoda, there are large Rumdul trees, and the flowers can be seen.
Rumdul fruit is edible. Many tiny fruits growing out in clusters with dark-red (the color of grape) when ripen. Rumdul fruit has a sour-sweet taste and has got a big seed inside. The first fruit eaten, you might feel it’s very sweet, but the more you eat, you would feel much of sour taste instead. After eaten, your tongue would turn violet, because of its color.
Since Rumdul are growing widely in the forest, the fruit might be considered as wild fruit. It’s only found selling in Siem Reap or Kampong Thom where close to the forest, and it’s become rare fruit for Phnom Penh people.
Pka Sarika or Pka Keo (ផ្កាសារិការឺផ្កាកែវ)
It’s another kind of white fragrant flowers. Pka Keo also has the special fragment smell only in the late evening. Especially, the evening after rain, the flowers grow on every branch of the tree, turning the tree from green into white color. The wind blows the pleasant smell in a long distance. The flower is less during the hot weather days. Pka Keo tree is a kind of high tree similar to Rumdul too, but the tree trunk would be bigger.
Pka Prolit or Water Lili(ផ្កាប្រលិត)
Pka Prolit is Khmer name for Water Lili. Water Lili is a kind of flower growing in water, similar to Lotus. Some of us get confused Water Lili to Lotus. Water Lili has smaller petals, the inner part also different. Its leaves never grow out of water, but only on the surface of water. Meanwhile, Lotus leaves is bigger, growing up from the water. Water Lili has many different colors: pink, white, yellow, violet, and red.