Nelumbo nucifera (sacred or Indian lotus) has been found covering a substantial portion of Lake Vermilion in Danville, IL (just east of Champaign). The recently discovered population is most likely an aquatic garden escapee. IDNR is trying to determine if this is an isolated population or if other populations of this species exist in the state. If you know of a population in Illinois please contact Cathy McGlynn, Coordinator of the Northeast Illinois Invasive Plant Partnership at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This species can be easily distinguished from our native American lotus. Native lotus have yellow petals and nearly round seeds, while the exotic lotus has pink or white petals with seeds that are oblong.