At the end of the season, the American Lotus looks nothing like the butter yellow colored flowers seen on the inland ponds of Sterling State Park in Monroe, Michigan.
The brown Lotus pods are a collector’s delight, especially for floral designers and others who use the pods for decoration.
North America’s largest native aquatic water flower, American Lotus blooms can grow to almost 10 inches across.
That’s the size of a dinner plate!
The American Lotus is a threatened plant in Michigan, which means it’s legally protected.
In the early 1900’s, the American Lotus flowers were an attraction for hundreds of visitors to the famous Monroe Piers, at the current location of Sterling State Park.
Tour boats would regularly take people out on the water to view the hundreds of acres of American Lotus in bloom; many people gathered the flowers to bring home.
Sadly, by the 1930’s, the American Lotus began to disappear along the Lake Erie shore due to loss of habitat and industrial pollution.
Over the years, a concerted effort was made to clean up the waters and reduce pollution.
Now you can find American Lotus along the Lake Erie shoreline at various locations in Michigan, including Sterling State Park, Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown Township (behind the nature center), as well as other locations near Monroe, Michigan.