Wildflower on the water: American Lotus
|American Lotus at Lake Erie Metropark|
photo courtesy of Huron-Clinton Metroparks
A spectacular water flower is about to steal the show! American Lotus plants are blooming at Lake Erie Metropark, home to some of the largest American Lotus beds in Michigan. The beautiful yellowish-white flowers that are often confused with water lilies are one of the most spectacular wildflowers to be found on water.
The American Lotus is a southern plant with a rich natural history that most likley migrated north with Native Americans that transported the tubers for a food source.
The park’s two main lotus beds are about two and five acres in size. The flowers can be seen from the Cherry Island Marsh Trail, located near the Marshlands Museum and Nature Center. Walk the trail any day, or take a guided walk to see the plants and learn about their roots into human culture on Sunday, August 7 at 2 pm during the “Lots of Lovely Lotus,” program. Preregistration is required. $3 fee.
American Lotus, alhough looked at as an invasive in some areas, is listed as an endangered species in Michigan,and has large, dark green leaves 18-20 inches across that provide perfect aircraft carrier size landing pads for dragonflies and shaded areas for fish. Their spectacular yellow flowers that can span eight inches add dramatic contrast to the leaves.
For more information, contact Lake Erie Metropark Marshlands Museum and Nature Center at 1-800-477-3189 or 734-379-5020.
A vehicle entry permit is required to enter any Metropark. $25 annually for regular admission, $15 annually for seniors, or $5 daily. General information: www.metroparks.com or call 1-800-47-PARKS.