Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Nelumbo nucifera of Asia and N. lutea of N. America, extraordinary plants of the family Nelumbaraceae which offer edible leaves, ‘roots’, seeds, and flowers.

Neither of them was the lotus of the fabled lotus-eaters of Libya; see jujube. However, N. nucifera was certainly known in classical antiquity; there is an unmistakable illustration of it in a mosaic in the ‘House of the Faun’ at Pompeii.

The Asian lotus is much more important than the American one, and is prized mainly for its roots and seeds.