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According to 'Water Plants for Missouri Ponds' by Mo Conservation, p.82

  Several tribes of American Indians used lotus seeds, tubers and even leaves for food.  The immature seeds were eaten raw or cooked; they have a chestnutlike flavor.  Ripe seeds were roasted and ground into meal, or boiled to extract the oil.  Lotus roots produce starchy tubers that are shaped somewhat like a banana and have the flavor of a sweet potato.  These were baked, or cut up and dried for winter.  The young, unrolled leaves were cooked as a vegetable.
  American Lotus has some wildlife value as well.  Wood ducks and mallards eat the seeds; the roots are eaten by beaver and muskrats.  Stands of lotus stabilize the shoreline and provide shade and shelter for young waterfowl, marsh birds, songbirds and fish.
  SUITABILITY FOR PONDS:
  Despite its ornamental qualities, American Lotus should not be introduced into fishing ponds or shallow lakes.  Lotus colonizes shallow water very rapidly; it can completely engulf a 1-acre pond in three to four years.
  Repeated cutting of leaves has been effective in lotus control.  Cutting should begin before opening of the first flower buds in June.  Fooding of lotus colonies for two weeks or drawdown for one month will also destroy many of the plants.

  (There's more info, but I thought the human harvesting was interesting, and probably kept it in balance.  I'm always interested in 'plants that have a use'.)
Margy Terpstra
Kirkwood, MO  St. Louis Co.
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