Last evening I went to Stricker’s and Tiedeman’s Ponds in Middleton, a western suburb of Madison, to take pictures of the lotus plants.
The American lotus, Nelumbo lutea, is a large water plant. The stalks of this plant are thick and the leaves and flowers rise a few feet above the surface of the water. It is almost like a low forest on top of the water.
The flowers of the American lotus are pale yellow. A few were still blooming when I was there.
On a lot of the flowers the petals had fallen off and the most eye-catching part was the strange seed pod. When I found out about these plants in my pre-teen years my mind was blown. I had never seen anything quite like them. The seed pods are rather large and they remind me of shower heads.
Those little dots are the seeds. When the pod matures it turns brown, hardens, and is surprisingly hardy; I have had a few of them in my room for over a decade now. Below is a picture of some dried pods on the edge of Stricker’s Pond this March.
The American lotus is only one of two extant members of its genus and the only one native to the Americas. This might explain why they seem so unique to me even after all these years.