Photo of a Lotus Garden in Cambodia (From TravelPod)
They harvest these lotus flowers for both their beauty as well as for food. The center of the lotus has little round balls that taste sort of like boiled peanuts.
The color of the lotus has an important bearing on the symbology associated with it:
White Lotus(Skt. pundarika; Tib.pad ma dkar po): This represents the state of spiritual perfection and total mental purity (bodhi). It is associated with the White Tara and proclaims her perfect nature, a quality which is reinforced by the color of her body.
Pink Lotus (Skt. padma; Tib. pad ma dmar po): This the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself.
Red Lotus (Skt. kamala; Tib: pad ma chu skyes): This signifies the original nature and purity of the heart(hrdya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities of the heart. It is the flower of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
Blue Lotus (Skt. utpala; Tib. ut pa la): This is a symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, and signifies the wisdom of knowledge. Not surprisingly, it is the preferred flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.