Lily pads are plants that grow in water, and are most often accompanied by flowers. The most common lily pad flowers are the Nelumbonaceae, or lotus flower, and the Nymphaeaceae, or water lily. These two separate and distinct plants grow in the soil beneath bodies of water, but the leaves and flowers are visible floating on the surface.
The water lily is most often found in tropical and temperate climates throughout the world. They only grow in freshwater conditions. There are actually over 65 types of water lilies in the world. Water lilies thrive in many different areas, from the northeastern portion of the United States, all the way down to South America.
Lotus flowers have a close resemblance to water lilies, but they feature larger, more showy flowers. There are only two types of lotus flowers. The first grows exclusively in Asia, and is the more popular of the two. The second is the American lotus. It is native to areas in the Caribbean, and North America.