Photos: Water lilies now in full bloom in China

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Boatmen take tourists for a ride around the water lily plants on Beihai Park in Beijing, China Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Beihai Park, once an imperial garden, is now a popular tourist spot in China’s capital. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Every June to August, water lilies bloom throughout China.

Internet users have been sharing their photos of of this colorful flower.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Many Chinese cities have also held water lily festivals in honor of the annual bloom

In Chinese, the word for water lily is the same as the word for lotus. However the two are distinct. Lotus leaves and flowers rise above the water, while the leaves and flowers of water lilies float on the water.

The are 58 different species of water lilies, a plant that is native to temperate and tropical climates.

Every part of the water lily can be eaten including its roots, leaves, flowers and seeds for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

A well-known Chinese poet Zhou Dunyi from the 11th Century wrote a poem about water lilies. He likened them to people, saying that people should stay honorable clean in troubled times just like the water lily, because the water lily remains pristine even though it grows in mud.

The flower is also celebrated in India and Vietnam.