Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Nelumbo lutea (Willd.) Pers.
- Family: Water-lily (Nymphaeaceae)
- Flowering: July-September
- Field Marks: This aquatic species is readily distinguished by its large, circular, peltate
its large pale yellow- to cream-colored flowers with numerous petals, and its woody,
- Habitat: Quiet waters, ponds, lakes, pools.
- Habit: Aquatic herb from thick, fleshy rhizomes and tubers.
- Stems: Only stems are rhizomes and tubers.
- Leaves: Large, alternate, floating or raised above the water, spherical, green above and below, smooth above, more or less finely hairy below, up to 2 feet across, peltate, sunken at the attachment of the leaf stalk, the leaf stalk very long, smooth.
- Flowers: Solitary, showy, up to 10 inches across, pale yellow to cream, on stout, smooth stalks up to 3 feet above the water.
- Sepals: 4-5, green, free from each other.
- Petals: Numerous, pale yellow to cream, free from each other, obovate, concave, rounded to somewhat pointed at the tip, up to 6 inches long.
- Stamens: Numerous, the stalks petal-like.
- Pistils: Numerous, borne in pits in the large receptacle.
- Fruits: Woody, top-shaped, up to 8 inches across, with numerous sunken seeds; seeds woody, spherical, up to 3/4 inch in diameter.
- Notes: The tubers of this species contain much starch and are edible. The extremely hard seed coats enable the seeds to remain viable for several years. The top-shaped fruits are frequently used by florists in dried floral arrangements. frequent
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