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American lotus is an emergent aquatic plant. The roots are anchored in the mud, but the leaves and flowers emerge above the water's surface. Flowering begins in late spring and may continue into the summer. The specific name means "yellow" in Latin and refers to the flowers, which may be white to pale yellow. The flowers measure 18–28 cm (7.1–11.0 in) in diameter and have 22-25 petals.
The native distribution of the species is the southeastern United States, Mexico, Honduras, and the Caribbean. It grows in lakes and swamps, as well as areas subject to flooding. This one was photographed at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in Jasper County, SC.
Common names include American lotus, yellow lotus, water-chinquapin, and volée. This plant has a large tuber that is used as a food source. This may be the plant called "macoupin" in Miami-Illinois. The seed is also edible and is known as "alligator corn".
Spotted on Jul 18, 2012
Submitted on Feb 20, 2015