Nelumbo lutea

Nelumbo lutea

Nelumbo lutea, the American Lotus, also known as Yellow Lotus or Water-chinquapin, is a flowering plant of the order Proteales.


Like the Asian species Nelumbo nucifera, American lotus is an emergent aquatic plant. It grows in lakes and swamps, as well as areas subject to flooding. The roots are anchored in the mud, but the leaves and flowers emerge above the water's surface. The petioles of the leaves may extend as much as two meters (6 ft) and end in a broad round leaf blade.

Flowering begins in late spring and may continue into the summer. The flowers may be white to pale yellow, from which the species gets its epithet lutea (Latin for yellow).

The native distribution of the species in the southeastern United States, Mexico, Honduras, and the West Indies, but it has apparently been distributed northwards in the United States by Native Americans who carried the plant with them as a food source.


This plant has a large root that was used by Native Americans as a food source. This may be the plant called "macoupin" in Miami-Illinois.

It is widely planted in ponds for its foliage and flowers. American Lotus has established itself as a weed in some areas, spreading via creeping rhizomes and seeds. This species has been crossed with N. nucifera to create many hybrids. Seeds may be propagated by scarifying the pointed tip of the seed with a file then soaking in water, or by division of established plants.


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