# How can I draw a water lily in LaTeX?

I wonder, can anyone draw a picture like this?

I tried, but I'm at the very beginning... There should be four semicircles and one full circle. I've managed to draw only two of them so far. Here's my code:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes,backgrounds}

\begin{document}
\pagestyle{empty}
%\def\fourthcircle{(3,0) circle (3cm)}
%\def\fifthcircle{(3,0) circle (3cm)}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw \firstcircle;
\draw \secondcircle;
%    \draw \thirdcircle;

\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}


Why wouldn't the third circle draw?

• If it has five 'petals', then those are not semi-circles; they are five arcs with a different radius than that of the outer circle, and a center that does not lie on the outer circle. Maybe that's why it wasn't working for you. First you need to get the geometry of the construction straight. Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 10:42

Are you looking for this 5-petal "water-lily" ?

% a 5-petal rose (or "water-lily" if you like ^^)
\documentclass[tikz,border=3mm]{standalone}
\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\def\R{3}
\draw (0,0) circle(\R);
\draw[smooth,magenta] plot[domain=0:36*5,samples=200] (\x:{\R*cos(5*\x)});
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}


I update the Asymptote version of @Jairo

//http://asymptote.ualberta.ca/
unitsize(3cm);
draw(unitcircle);
path petal=(1,0) .. (0,0) .. dir(144);
for(int i=1; i<=5; ++i) {draw(rotate(72*i+30)*petal,red);}

• He he, cool. 😎
– user226564
Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 19:53
• water lily Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 12:20

You can use \clip to cut away the outside parts, and use polar coordinates.

\documentclass[tikz,border=3mm]{standalone}
\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[declare function={R=3;alpha=-20;},thick]
\draw foreach \X in {0,...,6}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}


• your water-lily has 6 petals ^^ I think there is no 5 petals one as OP described above (5 circular arcs and 1 full circle) Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 18:26
• @BlackMild Buy five, get one free. 😃 (One can easily generalize this to an arbitrary number of petals.)
– user229669
Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 18:27
• I am lazy to do some maths (non-existence ^^) \documentclass[tikz,border=3mm]{standalone} \begin{document} \begin{tikzpicture}[declare function={R=3;alpha=-20;},thick] \draw[clip] circle(R); \def\n{5} \draw foreach[parse=true] \i in {1,...,\n} {(alpha+360*\i/\n:R) circle(R)}; \end{tikzpicture} \end{document} Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 18:33
• @BlackMild Obviously this does not work. You can't just place the centers on the boundary of the clipped circle and leave the radii at R.
– user229669
Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 18:39
• sorry for wrong guess! It does exist 5 petal water-lily as described in the question Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 19:52

Using LuaTeX, it is easy to generate some more generic results.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usepackage{luacode}

\begin{document}

\tikzset{
arcstyle/.style={
thick
}
}

\begin{luacode*}
one_degree = math.pi / 180

local ang = (360.0 / n_poly * index + rotation) * one_degree
local x = radius * math.cos(ang)
local y = radius * math.sin(ang)
return {x,y}
end

function get_arc_info(p1, p2, p3)
local xa, ya = table.unpack(p1)
local xb, yb = table.unpack(p2)
local xc, yc = table.unpack(p3)

local coef1 = xb*xb - xc*xc + yb*yb - yc*yc
local coef2 = xa*xa - xb*xb + ya*ya - yb*yb
local coef3 = 2.0 * ((xa-xb)*(yb-yc)-(xb-xc)*(ya-yb))

-- calculate center
local center_x = (-(ya-yb)*coef1+(yb-yc)*coef2)/coef3
local center_y = ((xa-xb)*coef1-(xb-xc)*coef2)/coef3

local radius = math.sqrt(math.pow(xa-center_x, 2)+math.pow(ya-center_y, 2))

-- calculate arc angle range
local arc_angle = (arc_ang1 + arc_ang2) * 2.0

-- find out if (xc,yc) or (xa,ya) has the smallest angle
-- make sure xc has the smallest angle (if not, swap two points)
local ang_a = math.atan2(ya-center_y,xa-center_x)
local ang_c = math.atan2(yc-center_y,xc-center_x)
if ang_a < ang_c then
ang_a = ang_a + 2 * math.pi
end

-- determine start angle
local start_angle =ang_c
local end_angle = ang_a

-- return results
return {
["center_x"] = center_x,
["center_y"] = center_y,
["start_angle"] = start_angle / one_degree,
["end_angle"] = end_angle / one_degree,
["arc_start_x"] = xc,
["arc_start_y"] = yc
}
end

function draw_arc(p1, p2, p3)
local arc = get_arc_info(p1, p2, p3)

tex.print(string.format([[\draw[arcstyle] (%f cm, %f cm) arc (%f:%f:%f cm);]],
arc["arc_start_x"],
arc["arc_start_y"],
arc["start_angle"],
arc["end_angle"],
end

for i=1,n_poly do
local ind1 = i - 1
local ind2 = (i+offset - 1)%n_poly
local p1 = get_inscribed_point(radius, n_poly, ind1, rotation)
local p2 = {0.0,0.0}
local p3 = get_inscribed_point(radius, n_poly, ind2, rotation)
draw_arc(p1, p2, p3)
end
end

\end{luacode*}

\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 6, 2, 0.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 6, 2, 15.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 8, 2, 15.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 12, 2, 15.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 12, 3, 15.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 12, 4, 15.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw (0,0) circle (2cm);
\directlua{
draw_lily(2.0, 36, 2, 15.0)
}
\end{tikzpicture}

\end{document}

• Just out of curiosity, wouldn't it be easier to invoke embedded Metapost library instead of using TikZ/PGF? Other than that, nice code.
– user226564
Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 0:09
• Thanks! Honestly, I have never used Metapost. It would be really interesting to look into it. Coding something like this is fun, brings me back some of the computer graphics homework that I did a while ago Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 0:12
• As LuaTeX provides both Lua and Metapost, they are nice to use together, especially when speed is of concern (adityam.github.io/context-blog/post/metapost-vs-tikz-speed). However, TikZ seems to be better suited to LaTeX.
– user226564
Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 0:22
• Nice code ! Speed doesn't seem to me to be a huge problem Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 14:56

Another pstricks solution, with pst-eucl, which has commands to draw regular polygons and the circumscribed circle of a triangle:

\documentclass[svgnames]{standalone}
\usepackage{pst-eucl}

\begin{document}

\begin{pspicture}(-2.2,-2.2)(1.6,2.2)
\SpecialCoor
\psset{PointSymbol=none, PointName=none}
\pstGeonode(0,0){O}(2;40){A}
\pstRegularPolygonOA{O}{A}{5}{B, C, D, E}
\psclip{\pscircle[linecolor=PaleVioletRed](O){2}}%
\foreach \b/\e/\c in {A/D/H, B/E/I, C/A/J, D/B/K, E/C/L}{\pstCircleABC[linecolor=LightPink]{O}{\b}{\e}{\c}}
\endpsclip
\end{pspicture}
\end{document}



• Wow...many times I informed you I am one of a lover of PSTricks... Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 6:44
• May I know why you use svg option of standalone?
– Diaa
Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 10:18
• @Diaa: It is not an option of standalone, but of xcolor, that pstricks already loads without option. Loading it as a class option ensures the option is passed to xcolor without an ‘option clash’ message. Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 10:23

An extra light pure LaTeX solution (Small is beautiful''):

\documentclass {article}
\usepackage{pict2e}
\usepackage{comment}
\begin{document}

\unitlength=5cm
\begin{picture}(2,2)(-1,-1)

\begin{comment}
; Elisp code to generate the repetitive LaTeX code for petals.
; only if you are an Emacs user. C-x C-e to evaluate.
(dolist (i (number-sequence 0 4)
(insert (format "\n\n\\put(0,0){\\circle{%.3f}}" (* 4 (cos (* 2 (/ float-pi 5)))))))
(let*
((angle-d (- (* (+ i 4) 72) 90))
(angle-r (* angle-d(/ float-pi 180))))
(insert
(format "\n\\put(%.3f,%.3f){\\arc[%d,%d]{1}}"
(cos angle-r)
(sin angle-r)
(-(* i 72)18)
(+(* i 72)54)))))
\end{comment}
\put(-0.951,-0.309){\arc[-18,54]{1}}
\put(-0.000,-1.000){\arc[54,126]{1}}
\put(0.951,-0.309){\arc[126,198]{1}}
\put(0.588,0.809){\arc[198,270]{1}}
\put(-0.588,0.809){\arc[270,342]{1}}

\put(0,0){\circle{1.236}}
\end{picture}
\end{document}


A more sophisticated solution using the xpicture package :

     \documentclass{article}
\usepackage{xpicture}
\usepackage{multido}

\begin{document}

\newcommand{\xrosace}[1]{%
\polarreference\degreesangles%
\newcommand{\Depart}{\ifodd#1-90\else0\fi}%
\DIVIDE{360}{#1}{\Rot}  %
\DIVIDE{\Rot}{2}{\DemRot}%
\ifodd#1\SUBTRACT{90}{\DemRot}{\Orig}%
\else\SUBTRACT{180}{\Rot}{\Orig}%
\fi
\fi
\DIVIDE{\Rot}{4}{\QrtRot}%
\ifodd#1\DEGREESSIN{\QrtRot}{\Drayon}%
\else\DEGREESSIN{\DemRot}{\Drayon}%
\fi
\MULTIPLY{2}{\Drayon}{\rayon}%
\DIVIDE{1}{\rayon}{\Irayon}%
\Circle{1}%
\multido{\rangle=\Depart+\Rot,%
\rorig=\Orig+\Rot,%
\rextr=\Extr+\Rot}{#1}%
{\Put(\Irayon,\rangle){\circularArc{\Irayon}{\rorig}{\rextr}}}
}% fin xrosace

\unitlength=2cm

\begin{xpicture}(9,4)(-3,-1)

\Put(-4, 0){\xrosace{3}}
\Put(-2, 0){\xrosace{4}}
\Put( 0, 0){\xrosace{5}}
\Put( 2, 0){\xrosace{6}}
\Put( 4, 0){\xrosace{7}}
\Put(-4,-2){\xrosace{8}}
\Put(-2,-2){\xrosace{9}}
\Put( 0,-2){\xrosace{10}}
\Put( 2,-2){\xrosace{11}}
\Put( 4,-2){\xrosace{12}}

\end{xpicture}

\end{document}


• Really innovative...+1 for without tikz and all.... Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 15:31

Is a Metapost alternative allowed?

\documentclass{standalone}
\usepackage[shellescape,latex]{gmp}
\begin{document}
\begin{mpost}[name=lily]
numeric unit;
unit := 2cm;
path Circle; Circle := (fullcircle shifted -center fullcircle) scaled (2*unit);
path Form; Form := (unit*right) .. origin .. (unit*dir(144));
draw Circle;
for i = 1 upto 5:
draw Form rotated (72*i+30);
endfor;
\end{mpost}%
\usempost{lily}%
\end{document}


• What do you mean by "Metapost alternative"? Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 12:21
• @PeterMortensen Questions about drawing something are usually asked with an answer in TikZ expected. I asked if Metapost was a valid solution. Sorry for the broken English.
– user226564
Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 12:24

A PSTricks solution only for either fun or comparison purposes.

\documentclass[pstricks,border=3mm]{standalone}
\begin{document}
\pspicture[linecolor=blue,linewidth=2pt](-5,-5)(5,5)
\psclip{\pscircle{5}}
\foreach \i in {0,60,...,300}{\pscircle(5;\i){5}}
\endpsclip
\endpspicture
\end{document}