Habitat: Locations include shallow (0.3 - 1.0 m deep) ponds, lakes, slow-moving streams, rivers, reservoirs, freshwater tidal waters, and wetlands.
Life history: Nelumbo nucifera can grow up to 10 m in a year by vegetative spread from rhizomes. Flowers and fruits are observed from June to October, and take 5-6 years to reach maturity. Flowers are self-compatible, but also protogynous (styles mature before stamens) and thermogenic, creating heat for pollinators such as bees, flies, and beetles. Seeds can survive for hundreds and maybe thousands of years, requiring scarification to initiate germination (Les 2018).
Tolerances: This species prefers rich and fertile soils (Hyde silty loam, marl, and muck), and can tolerate acidic (pH: 5.7-6.8) waters. It requires full sunlight and summer temperatures above 25°C.
Community: Nelumbo are eaten by deer, beavers, muskrats, and porcupines, while ducks are known to eat the fruits (achenes). The leaves create shelter and shade for fish and invertebrates, including mosquitos. The freshwater bryozoan, Pectinatella magnifica, grows on the underside of floating leaves. The N. nucifera populations in North America host larvae of the moth, Psara obscuralis (Les 2018).