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Yellow lotus in bloom

This beautiful wetland plant can be found in wetlands throughout the Midwest and eastern United States. Look for its large yellow flower and 18" umbrella-like leaf to be growing in still, freshwater wetlands, standing up to 10 inches above the water's surface. The yellow flower head measures about 7 inches across, with a hard seed pod center that looks like a huge salt-shaker.

The lotus brightens wetlands with its bloom from June until September. When the flower is done blooming, the petals and leaves fall away, leaving just the "salt-shaker" standing above the water's surface fading to brown. If you look inside, you'll find it filled with hardy seeds that can still grow centuries from now. Sometimes you'll find these unique seed pods used in dried flower arrangements.