American Lotus

Nelumbo lutea

A Large, Flowered American Plant:

American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is a plant common in wetland habitats throughout the US. It’s considered an emergent aquatic plant. It has large circular leaves that are connected to the petiole in the center of plant. There are no noticeable slits in the side of the leaf, which is an easy way to distinguish this plant from water lilies.

American Lotus Flowers

The flowers have several stamens around a central pistil. This showy flower only lasts a few days, yet it matures at different stages throughout its life.  The female parts come out first, which keeps the flowers from self pollinating.


Biomimicry of the Lotus flower:

One of the unique features of the American lotus is its ability to repel water. The outer surface of the leaf will ball up water when dropped on it. To show this feature we included footage of it in the above video.

Eating American Lotus

The roots to American Lotus are edible as are the leaves and seeds. Native people have collected the starchy rhizomes of this plant for a tasty treat. Young leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, and the seeds can be eaten raw when they are immature.

As an Invasive Species

This plant is native to the US but can be considered a weed due to its ability to take over wetland habitats. It will snare fishing lines, boat props and completely inhibit boat traffic in an area.  If you have a problem with this plant you can look up management techniques at the MSUcares
or the TAMU


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Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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