Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
AMERICAN LOTUS, LOTUS-LILY
G. E. Crow
It was once suggested that perhaps lotus in Michigan was originally introduced by Native Americans as a food-plant, but there is no documentation one way or the other. Some of our colonies, at least, are assumed to be natural, at the northern edge of the range for the species.
While the flowers bloom in late midsummer, the very large peltate leaves are conspicuous throughout the season, their blades floating on the water like large flat plates or held above the water like umbrellas (but slightly funnel-shaped). The unique top-shaped receptacle enlarges tremendously as the fruits ripen, each embedded just below the broad flat surface, in a cavity with a circular opening to the exterior. The peduncle bends soon after the petals are shed, tilting the receptacle almost at right angles; it later returns to an erect position as the little fruits mature, and then bends downward before the receptacle breaks off and floats in the water, releasing the fruits.