Nelumbo luteum Willd. Nymphaeaceae. American Water-Lotus. Water Chinquepin. Yellow Nelumbo.
North America and West Indies. The seeds are very agreeable to eat and are eagerly sought for by children and Indians. The long and thick, creeping roots, says Rafinesque, are acrimonious when fresh but are easily deprived of their dangerous juice by washings and are then an agreeable food to the Indians.
Nelumbo speciosum Willd. Lotus.
Northern Africa and tropical Asia. The lotus is an eastern flower which seems from time immemorial to have been, in native estimation, the type of the beautiful. It is held sacred throughout the East, and the deities of the various sects in that quarter of the world are almost invariably represented as either decorated with its flowers, seated or standing on a lotus throne or pedestal, or holding a sceptre framed from its flowers. It is fabled that the flowers obtained their red color by being dyed with the blood of Siva when Kamadeva wounded him with the love-shaft arrow. Lakeshmi is called the lotus-born, from having ascended from the ocean on its flowers. The lotus is often referred to by the Hindu poets. The lotus floating in the water is the emblem of the world. It is also symbolic of the mountain Meru, the residence of the gods and the emblem of female beauty. Both the roots and seeds are esculent, sapid and wholesome and are used as food by the Egyptians. In China, some parts of India and in Ceylon, the black seeds of this plant, not unlike little acorns in shape, are served at table. Temient found them of delicate flavor and not unlike the pine cones of the Apennines. In the southern provinces of China, large quantities are grown. The seeds and slices of its hairy root are served at banquets and the roots are pickled for winter use. In Japan, the stems are eaten. These stalks are not dissimilar in taste to our broad beet with a somewhat sharp after-taste. The seeds are also eaten like filberts. The roots furnish a starch, or arrowroot, in China, called gaou fun.