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Lotus Root

East Indian lotus, Egyptian lotus, Nelumbium

Nymphaeaceae Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

This is a perennial water plant, long grown in Oriental countries both as an ornamental and for its edible rhizomes and seeds. Rhizomes are thick and tuberous and creep in the earth at the bottoms of ponds or slow moving streams. The leaves are nearly round, large and long stemmed. They may float on deep water, but rise high above shallow water. The fruit is an enlarged receptacle, in which the many seeds are imbedded. In the U.S., this plant is grown almost entirely as an ornamental. The starchy rhizomes are of some importance as foods in the Orient. The acorn-like seeds are also an oriental delicacy.

Production in U.S.: Mainly as ornamental, negligible for food. Hawaii produced 90 tons of root from 50 acres in 1968.

Use: Rhizomes as cooked food. Seeds as nut-like delicacy in Orient.

Part of plant consumed: Underwater rhizomes; seeds.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch