American lotus is often confused with water lilies. Leaves are round, much larger (up to 2 feet in diameter), bluish-green in color and attached to the stem in the center. Leaves are flat if floating or conical if emergent and can stand above the water as high as 3 1/2 feet.

Flowers are large (to 10 inches across) yellowish-white to yellow with more than 20 petals. The center of the flower, the seed structure, is cone-shaped (or like an inverted showerhead) and has openings in which the seeds develop. Lotus can form large colonies and spreads by seeds and large fleshy rhizomes.

Can be brought under control with several years of chemical control.