Herb: American Water Lotus

Latin name: Nelumbo lutea

Synonyms: Nelumbium luteum, Nelumbo pentapetala

Family: Nelumbonaceae

Medicinal use of American Water Lotus:

The root is pounded into a pulp, either fresh or dried, and used as a poultice for many inflammatory diseases.

Description of the plant:


180 cm
(6 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

Ponds, slow streams and estuaries. This species is almost extinct in the wild.

Edible parts of American Water Lotus:

Root - cooked. It is usually steeped in water prior to cooking in order to remove any bitterness. The root is rich in starch, when baked it becomes sweet and mealy, somewhat like a sweet potato. The root is usually harvested in the autumn and will store for several months. Leaves and young stems - cooked. Seed - raw or cooked. A very agreeable taste. The seed can be dried, ground into a powder and used for making bread, thickening soups etc or can be eaten dry. The bitter tasting embryo is often removed. The half-ripe seed is said to be delicious raw or cooked, with a taste like chestnuts. The seed contains up to 19% protein. An edible oil can be extracted from the seed.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - file the seed across its centre, being very careful not to damage the flesh of the seed, and soak in warm water, changing the water twice a day until signs of germination are seen, which should be within 3 - 4 weeks at 25C. Plant in individual pots just covered in water and increase the depth as the plant grows. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth. Be very careful, the plants deeply resent root disturbance.

Cultivation of American Water Lotus:

Ponds, slow streams and estuaries. This species is almost extinct in the wild.

Known hazards of Nelumbo lutea:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.