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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Nelumbo lutea (Willd.) Pers.)

Lotus fruit

LOTUS-LILY FAMILY (Nelumbonaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: An aquatic perennial herb with very large leaves (3-7 dm. wide) that are normally emerged, but can be floating. The leaves are unnotched, bluish-green and semi-circular. The center of emerged leaves is cupped or depressed. Flowers are pale yellow, 15-25 cm. wide, and have numerous petals and sepals. The flowers are elevated on emerged, stout stalks. The fruits, when mature, are acorn-like and embedded in a fleshy, top-shaped receptacle that later becomes dry and woody. In flower from July to August.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: In Minnesota and Wisconsin, lotus is primarily found in backwaters of the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. However, it is also found in other rivers and scattered lakes; some of these stands may have been planted. It forms extensive colonies that can cover many acres. The leaves shed water if pushed below the surface.

SOURCE: Fernald (1970); and Gleason and Cronquist (1991).

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