Spatterdock or yellow water lily
Spatterdock or yellow water lily (Nuphar species)
The Spatterdock plant (also known as Water Lily and Pond Lily) is an aquatic plant with leaves up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) long with a triangular notch at the base. The shape of the glossy green leaves, which float on the water’s surface, is somewhat variable but are typically oval with a notch on one side toward the leaf stem. The plant’s yellow (or orangish) flowers are 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) across, held above the water surface, and develop into green, bottle-shaped fruits each containing numerous seeds which are dispersed by the water currents. The fruits are green when ripe.
Where to Find: These plants grow throughout most of North America. They are found in quiet, shallow (never deeper than 1.8 meters [6 feet]) freshwater including ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers.
Edible Parts: All parts of the plant are edible. The fruits contain several dark brown seeds you can parch or roast and then grind into flour. In some species the seeds will pop like popcorn. The large rootstock contains starch. Dig it out of the mud, peel off the outside, and boil the flesh. Sometimes the rootstock contains large quantities of a very bitter compound. Boiling the plant in several changes of water may remove the bitterness.
Other Uses: The root can be chopped and boiled in water to create a mouthwash for sore throats. Leaves and root stocks can be used for skin ailments and swelling.