The North American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea Willd Pers.) - Sacred Food of the Osage People

Daniel C. Swan


The North American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea Willd.) is well documented as an important food plant among the Native people of North America. This paper presents ethnographic and historic evidence of its past veneration by the Osage Indians of Oklahoma as a sacred food and a symbol of their desire for health and long life, particularly for their children. Today N. lutea has become a prominent traditional food among the Osage and an important culinary element in contemporary Osage cultural identity. 

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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