forb, emergent aquatic, aquatic
March - October
Floating aquatic with solitary flowers held above the water surface; five or six large bright yellow sepals and numerous small yellow petals largely concealed by the sepals. Leaf with cleft, stands above water, not peltate. 3 yellow petals.
Attracts birds. The rhizomes are often consumed by muskrats. Pollinated by flies attracted to the alcoholic scent.
The flower is followed by a green bottle-shaped fruit, containing numerous seeds which are dispersed by water currents.
Ponds, lakes, bayous, bogs, streams, springs, swamps and beaver ponds, in shallow water with its roots in the sediment and its leaves floating on the water surface. It can grow in water up to 5 metres deep, usually in shallower water than the white water lily.
Native people gathered the thick rootstocks in winter and spring, boiled or roasted them for several hours, then peeled them to expose their sweet, gluey contents. Rootstocks were also sliced, dried and ground into meal or flour. The starchy seeds can be difficult to remove, so the tribes rotted the fruits until the pods became soft. The heated seeds swell like poor-quality popcorn, making a crunchy snack.