Dr. Seuss’s Pond

Yellow Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) Taking Over Pond

We spent a good chunk of saturday wandering about mid-Missouri, touring the various homes and towns of my Mother’s family.

While wondering about Mom’s home town of Jamestown, Missouri, we found Cave Springs Road.

“Road” is a bit of an exaggeration; it is a rather winding gravel/dirt road through the hills and river bottoms of the area. It also happens to pass by one of my Grandparent’s old houses.

While continuing on said road, I caught something out of the corner of my eye and asked my sister (who was driving) to stop the car.

Upon seeing this pond, our cousin from Austria exclaimed, “This pond is being invaded by Doctor Seuss plants.”.

Yellow Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) Seedheads

The plants do look a bit Seuss-esque. Especially the seed pods.

They are American Lotus or Yellow Lotus. While considered a native species, they are extremely invasive and can easily entirely consume a pond in vegetative growth within a few years (depending on pond depth).

While “native”, the working theory is that these plants are not really naturally propagated nearly as widely as they are without human intervention.

In particular, much of the plant is edible. As far as anyone can determine, American Indians would carry seeds and/or roots of the plant as they moved about, planting any random ponds to establish a food source if the tribe happened to pass that way again.



Yellow Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) Seedheads Detail

Growing up, my Mom remembers collecting the dried seed pods each fall. The pods were used as decoration in wreaths and table decorations.

I remember Lotus pods in table decorations for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other family gatherings while I was growing up. When dried, the pods make wonderful natural rattles that seem to keep tiny tots happy for a good bit.

Yellow Lotus (Nelumbo lutea) Maturing Seedhead

My Mom wanted to plant some lotus on our new pond at our new house in the ’80s, but everyone said it was a bad idea. Just a bit of research confirmed exactly why.

Lotus is an incredibly invasive plant. It will dominate a pond entirely, completely covering the pond in all areas where the water depth isn’t too great. Because of the vast amount of vegetation created by this plant, it will also quickly fill in the typical shallow farm pond to the point of taking over the entire surface.

It is, though, an exquisite and useful plant.

There is a bit of swampy area on the property that could easily be dug out to form a mini-pond. It would be an ideal (i.e. isolated) spot for a Lotus infestation.


I could easily imagine painting little eyes on all those seeds for a halloween haunted house…



One Response to “Dr. Seuss’s Pond”

  1. annbb says:

    Umm…excuse me….I’M the one with the eagle eyes that, even though driving the car, spotted Dr. Suess’ pond first and slammed on the brakes demanding you take photos for me, your big sister! History revised! HMPH!
    It was just an incredible pond, though and you captured it beautifully.

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