Spatterdock or Yellow Water Lily
This plant has leaves up to 60 centimeters long with a triangular
notch at the base. The shape of the leaves is somewhat variable.
The plants yellow flowers are 2.5 centimeter across and
develop into bottle-shaped fruits. The fruits are green when
Habitat and Distribution
These plants grow throughout most of North America. They are
found in quiet, fresh, shallow water (never deeper than 1.8 meters).
All parts of the plant are edible. The fruits contain several
dark brown seeds you can parch or roast and then grind into flour.
The large rootstock contains starch. Dig it out of the mud, peel
off the outside, and boil the flesh. Sometimes the rootstock
contains large quantities of a very bitter compound. Boiling
in several changes of water may remove the bitterness.
Spatterdock or yellow water lily often has leaves that are
more classically lily-pad-shaped than the ones in the photo.
I can say from experience that it can be more trouble than
it's worth to get the bitterness out of the rootstocks.
However, since the bitterness may vary from one variety or location
to another, this is a plant worth knowing. You can collect many
pounds of the roots in a short time.