The lotus is everywhere in SE Asia. From lakes and ponds to art work, it seems as if it's the national flower. The stems of the lotus that grow underwater contain a fibrous center that can be harvested to make thread and subsequently cloth. The process is all done by hand and takes a very long time to accomplish. The cloth made from the lotus stems is very coarse but softens immensely after several washings. One of its most important uses is for making special robes for the Buddhist monks in Myanmar. Because of the amount of cloth needed for the robe, it can take up to a year to create just one.