The Beautiful American Lotus Blossoms

American Lotus Blossom, Turner's Creek, Kent County, MD.

It's American lotus blossom season on the Chesapeake. For a few weeks each summer, these incredible blooms grace the surface of some of the shallower creeks and rivers in our area.

I've always thought the late summer big, yellow blooms were amazing. Their size and beauty can't be denied, but I didn't realize how amazing this flowering plant is until I learned about their lifecycle. This information I picked up during a recent paddling trip organized by the Sultana Education Foundation. In addition to the blossoms and the huge leaves that float on the water's surface, what's going on below the surface is incredible. The seeds of these plants drop and lie dormant for extraordinarly long periods of time - up to hundreds of years. 

Paddling among the lotus, off the Sassafras River.

Whether you strap a kayak on top of your car, attend a lotus bloom festival on shore, or paddle with a group as I did, it's worth a short drive to admire these flowers. They usually peak for just a few weeks. Turner's Creek in Kent County, MD, and Mattawoman Creek in Charles County, MD, are well known for their abudant blossoms.


American Lotus blossom with sun glistening on the water.


The Lotus and Water Lilly Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Anacostia Park will take place Saturday July, 20 and Sunday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the many cultural events, attendees can hear a "Lotus in Buddhism" talk at noon on Saturday.

Saturday, August 4, the Mount Harmon Plantation in Earlville, MD, will hold their annual Lotus Blossom Art and Nature Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The creeks around this historic planation, situated on the north shore of the Sassafrass River, are filled with lotus plants. Festival events will include living history demonstrations, manor tours, craft artisan displays, and more. 

To find more about the lotus blossoms and a list of places to view them, click here for interesting an informative post by Find Your Chesapeake, which captures a 2013 Bay Journal article on the topic.