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Nelumbo lutea - (Willd.)Pers.
Common Name American Water Lotus, American lotus
Family Nelumbonaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mostly flood plains of major rivers in ponds, lakes, pools in marshes and swamps, and backwaters of reservoirs from sea level to 400 metres[270].
Range Eastern N. America - Massachusetts to Minnesota, Nebraska and Louisiana.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Water Plants Full sun


Nelumbo lutea American Water Lotus, American lotus

Nelumbo lutea American Water Lotus, American lotus
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Nelumbo lutea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, beetles.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It can grow in water.

N. pentapentala. Nelumbium luteum

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Oil;  Root;  Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Root - cooked[1, 43, 46, 55, 159]. It is usually steeped in water prior to cooking in order to remove any bitterness[2]. The root is rich in starch[177], when baked it becomes sweet and mealy[95, 101], somewhat like a sweet potato[183]. The root is usually harvested in the autumn and will store for several months[257]. Leaves and young stems - cooked[62, 95, 101, 183]. Seed - raw or cooked[43, 46, 55, 95, 101]. A very agreeable taste[2, 159]. The seed can be dried, ground into a powder and used for making bread, thickening soups etc or can be eaten dry[62, 183]. The bitter tasting embryo is often removed. The half-ripe seed is said to be delicious raw or cooked, with a taste like chestnuts[183]. The seed contains up to 19% protein[213]. An edible oil can be extracted from the seed[207].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


The root is pounded into a pulp, either fresh or dried, and used as a poultice for many inflammatory diseases[207].


Other Uses

None known
Cultivation details
Historic Crop;  Staple Crop: Balanced carb.

Requires a rich loam[1] and a sunny position[188]. Succeeds in most soils[1]. Succeeds in water up to 0.6m deep[188]. Plants are half-hardy[188]. They should be hardy in the mild areas of Britain[1]. One report says that the plant is almost extinct in the wild[213], whilst another says that it is sometimes an aggressive, difficult-to-eradicate weed in ponds, lakes, and reservoirs[270]. Grown as a food plant by the N. American Indians[1], it has been proposed for commercial cultivation[106]. The flowers are fragrant[245].
Seed - file the seed across its centre, being very careful not to damage the flesh of the seed, and soak in warm water, changing the water twice a day until signs of germination are seen, which should be within 3 - 4 weeks at 25°c. Plant in individual pots just covered in water and increase the depth as the plant grows. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth. Be very careful, the plants deeply resent root disturbance[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Nelumbo nuciferaSacred Water Lotus, Sacred lotus43


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Subject : Nelumbo lutea  

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