There are two species of lotus: one has yellow flowers and
the other pink flowers. The flowers are large and showy. The
leaves, which may float on or rise above the surface of the water,
often reach 1.5 meters in radius. The fruit has a distinctive
flattened shape and contains up to 20 hard seeds.
Habitat and Distribution
The yellow-flowered lotus is native to North America. The
pink-flowered species, which is widespread in the Orient, is
planted in many other areas of the world. Lotuses are found in
quiet fresh water.
All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked. The underwater
parts contain large quantities of starch. Dig the fleshy portions
from the mud and bake or boil them.
Boil the young leaves and eat them as a vegetable.
The seeds have a pleasant flavor and are nutritious. Eat them
raw, or parch and grind them into flour.
Look for lotus in still or slow waters. Beavers ponds are
a common habitat.