Water lilies live in freshwater areas in temperate and tropical climates around the world. The family contains eight genera with a total of 70 species worldwide. Water lilies are rooted in soil in bodies of water, with leaves and flowers floating on the water surface.
Their flowers are beautiful and symbolize purity: they are said "to thrive in muddy areas without keeping the smell of mud." Buddha is often depicted on paintings as meditating while sitting on a water-lily leaf.
People in Southwest Vietnam harvest them from ponds, rivers, fields to sell them at the market. Flowers are used for decoration while stems yield delicious dishes.