American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) in the Lotuses Database

Common names:
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Botanical names:
Nelumbo lutea Accepted
Nelumbo pentapetala Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: In Water
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Leaves: Deciduous
Other: up to 2' diameter; may be held above water or may float
Fruit: Showy
Other: seeds and tuber-like underwater rootstock edible
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Yellow
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Bulb
Uses: Water gardens
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Propagation: Seeds: Scarify seeds
Other info: Seed is reputedly viable for decades, perhaps a thousand years!.
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

Native American Lotus

The Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP MembersThe Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP Members
March 15, 2014

Here's a report of the most popular water garden plants from our database!

(Full article14 comments)
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Comments:
Posted by dyzzypyxxy (Sarasota, Fl) on Aug 28, 2014 1:07 PM

Beautiful water garden plant with velvety non-wettable leaves. Water drops roll around on them like mercury, to the delight of kids. Tubers are extremely fragile and must be handled gently when planting or transplanting. Any injury to the tuber results in rotting and death of the plant. Heavy feeder once it starts up, and water must warm to above 70deg. to start growth. Take care to grow in at least 4 hours of full sun per day for blooming.

Many cultivars are too large for a small water garden, growing leaves 2ft. across and 5ft tall, but there are dwarf cultivars available that stay small enough for even a tub or half-barrel. Flowers are beautiful and fragrant, but rather fleeting, often lasting only 2 days in hot weather. The seed pods are interesting and decorative, but they should be removed if you want the plant to continue blooming.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Oct 17, 2014 4:37 PM

In Illinois it is a perennial wildflower known as an emergent aquatic plant. Roots (large tuber) are anchored in mud, but leaves and flowers are held above water surface. Flowers mid to late summer for appx. a month and a half. Lives in lakes, swamps, ponds, slow rivers, wetlands, and areas prone to flood. Large colonies, as found along the Illinois River, are not uncommon.
In the US it is native to the southeast, but has spread northward, reputedly by native Americans who brought it with them as it was/is a food source (the tuber and the seeds). Tuber or rhizome becomes very swollen and starchy late summer to fall. Seed is sometimes called "alligator corn."
May be the plant referred to as "macoupin" in the native indian language Miami-Illinois. There is a county in Illinois named Macoupin.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 8, 2018 10:57 AM

There are two species of Lotus in the world. One is the Sacred or Indian Lotus of Asia and northern Australia, Nelumbo nucifera, which has white to pink flowers. The other is this American or Yellow Lotus (Nelumbo lutea), which is native from Honduras to Mexico and the Caribbean up through Florida to Texas up to Minnesota and southern Ontario into New England. It bears the white to yellow 4 to 11 inch wide, fragrant flowers with 22 to 25 petals in late spring into summer. Its bowl-like, round leaves are held 1 to 6 feet above the water. Its roots are anchored in the mud.

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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on May 4, 2012 12:53 PM

Honey bees get pollen from this plant.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
I have a question by TexasPlumeria87 Feb 25, 2014 11:41 AM 0
Spatterdock, Cow Lily, yellow pond lily, Nuphar lutea by needrain May 23, 2018 6:10 PM 11
Nelumbo Lutea Flower True Color by Milano Nov 6, 2016 6:41 PM 4
How do I get pond water much cleaner, less muddy brown by bhart90 May 30, 2016 2:46 PM 19
Planting Suggestions - Rainwater Level Spreader - by mica78 Apr 30, 2016 4:43 PM 15
American Lotus by Frillylily Feb 5, 2019 2:16 PM 19
Growing lotus? by dyzzypyxxy Jul 3, 2016 3:37 PM 21
Our Orchid blooms in August 2015 by Ursula Sep 1, 2015 7:54 AM 315
The Circle of Life: everything else by evermorelawnless May 12, 2016 10:26 AM 731
Todays Wildflowers by Horntoad Dec 16, 2013 3:21 PM 18
Anyone growing lotus? by extranjera Mar 6, 2014 5:48 PM 90

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