Black Lotus is the single most valuable normally printed card in the game of Magic printed in a standard set. Printed only in Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited, this artifact can provide a free mana boost for any deck. It is restricted in Vintage and banned in Legacy. Christopher Rush drew its artwork.
Black lotuses have appeared in numerous Magic storyline arcs. A black lotus, House Carthalion's most powerful relic, was discovered by a young Adam Carthalion and was kept in House Scarlet in Arathoxia. Jared Carthalion stole it after the Mistress of House Scarlet let him in and showed it to him, and later used it to summon a Shivan Dragon to kill Ravidel at Castle Melmereth.
Originally, Magic did not limit the number of copies of a card you could play in a deck; this allowed first-turn wins with decks comprised of twenty Black Lotus, twenty Channel, and twenty Fireball. The four-of maximum was quickly added to the rules to avoid this, and Black Lotus and Channel were later restricted or banned in their environments to make this even less likely.
The smuggling of rare "black lotuses" was alluded to in the computer game Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn.
As one of the most famous cards of all time, the Black Lotus has inspired numerous, more balanced, cards with abilities that reference it in some way: