Harvesting Lotus Pods

Meredith has inspired me to gather some of the lotus pods. She explained that you never see pods amongst the lotus in Sri Lanka, because they are all harvested by the poor as a cash crop, and sold to the temples. I had planned to take some to an Equinox Festival tonight, so I climbed in to the kayak and very slowly worked my way through them.

starting near the stepping stones

starting near the stepping stones

As I picked each one, cutting it off at the waterline, I tucked it into the well of the kayak, trying not to spill the seeds.

in the thick of the lotus

in the thick of the lotus

You can imagine it was like working your way through a dense crowd, with each plant giving way a little to let me pass, then closing in again behind the kayak as I made a little progress. There were so many pods, I only picked those that were very close to me, and then only a fraction of those.

the kayak is almost invisible here

the kayak is almost invisible here

I cleared the main patch of older lotus, then entered the newer area, where the plants have flourished this year after the red azolla completed its cycle.

among the younger plants

among the younger plants

This is area where I noticed the way lotus leaves break the surface, curled up into a spear head, piercing older leaves or finding space between them, then unfurling over the top of whatever is on the surface, to create their wonderful circular ‘solar collectors’. See how leaves on the north are lying flat, while those behind them are tilted up to take advantage of the sun’s angle. The leaves on the south don’t miss out!

the dam is right beside the house

the dam is right beside the house and vegetable garden

We decided it would be easier to make land again at the other end of the dam, so I paddled down to the my favourite tropical lilies in their shallow bay, waited for one last photograph and soon climbed out, triumphant with a huge bunch of lotus pods.

back to land!

back to land!

S has plans to prepare seeds to eat, I have plans to take some pods out with us tonight, and the others will stay here in the house, a promise of spring to come, of flowers to bloom again, all the glory of the lotus pond!

pods in a basket

pods in a basket

Nelumbo nucifera – The Lotus. This is a water plant grown both for its beauty and edible rhizomes.

The Lotus is said to be a divine plant considered to be the seat of Lord Brahma who as per Hindu religion is the creator of the Universe.

According to esoteric Buddhism, the heart of the beings is like an unopened lotus; when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein the lotus blossoms. This is why the Buddha sits on a lotus in bloom.

In Buddhism the lotus also symbolises the feminine principal. Specifically the red lotus, the one we grow,ย symbolizes the original nature of the heart (hrdaya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion, activity and all the qualities of the heart. It is the lotus of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Kuan Yin is the Chinese version ofย Avalokiteล›vara, and has been one of my guiding lights since I first met her in 1995. So without understanding fully, I planted a red lotus in the dam below our bedroom window, subtly reminding me to be compassionate and live from my heart.

Here is the story of meeting Kuan Yin on an adventurous trip through Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.





57 thoughts on “Harvesting Lotus Pods

  1. Look like you had a lot of fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
    The surface glittered out of heart of light,
    And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
    Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
    Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
    Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
    Time past and time future
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.

    — T.S.Eliot

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lotus pod before. They’re so interesting. I wonder if we could grow them here (and if we should?). I’ve been dreaming of lotuses lately. I’ve also been dreaming of groundhogs. Not sure which one I should be paying attention to. lol! I really like your “back to land!” shot. You look so beautiful sitting there with the blooms in the background. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • so kind Robin … and I wonder if lotus are grown near you at all … they don’t ‘go wild’ if there are in a pond so it might be safe to try then and see … what lovely dreams to have lotuses in them!

  3. Such a lovely post, Christine – I love the form of the pods – they are very Alice-in-Wonderland-ish ๐Ÿ™‚ How marvellous to have your own waterway full of them. I’ve didn’t know that you can eat the seeds – how do you cook and eat them?

    Your post reminds me of bizarre story I read in Scientific American last week on a trypophobia, which is a fear of holes, and lotus pod seedholes are a strong trigger! http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-you-afraid-of-holes/

    • we are just learning about how to eat them … while they are still soft you remove the husk, remove the little green germ in the centre, then eat the seed … they taste like pistachio, but a bit more coconutty … we have a lot to learn … tryphobia sounds strange, but I can imagine being afraid of holes, one of our tiny goslings fell into a posthole once and it took me hours to find it!

  4. Reading about your harvesting of the lotus seeds naturally led me on to Kwan Yin, who holds a very special place in my heart. I first met her in 1982 on Penang Island, and I was blessed to have both Malay and Chinese people explain her to me. As I sitat my dining table typing to you, I have Kwan Yin gazing from the cabinet, and Lord Buddha seated under a spray of Cooktown orchids bestowing peaceful thoughts upon my home..my special sanctuary of Peace.

    • Hello Maureen, I wonder what you were doing in Penang? My mother loved Hong Kong and all that area, but did not know Kuan Yin … I love to think of your Buddha and Kwan Yin guarding your peaceful sanctuary … and those Cooktown orchids sound wonderful … rich heart blessings dear one ๐Ÿ™‚

    • so glad to bring you something entirely new Debra! It was a beautiful day here, and the moon has just risen, in a funny shape like a plectrum … we have been sitting around a campfire celebrating the equinox at a neighbours place, feeling very blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ooooooh – I did so enjoy your excursion among the lotus – and S’s shots, especially the third, you and that little canoe nestled, no, hidden, among the plants! I’m still smiling at it, and seeing those beautiful pods in the basket. Thank you for a lovely afternoon on your pond – just magic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Interesting and beautiful! I had no idea you could eat them. Sounds like they taste good too. Those pods are very decorative – sometimes I can find them in a shop here, but growing lotus is only for greenhouses in Sweden really.

  7. Oh, yes, the Embodiment of Wisdom and Compassion… For a few years when I lived in Montreal, I attended a Vietnamese temple and occasionally visited other temples in the city. Thรญch-Ca Mau-Ni Phat (Shakyamuni Buddha) is always the one sitting on the main altar — but the most beloved is Quรกn-Thรฉ-Am Bรฒ-tรกt, Quan Yin Bodhisattva. (A few diacritical marks are still missing on the Vietnamese names). One of my favourite images is of her coming to our aid, robes flowing in the breeze as she steps through the air from cloud to cloud. There’s a strength accorded to her that’s missing from the Protestant understanding of the Christian Theotokos. When I eventually returned to the religion of my birth, it was with an enriched faith through having known Quan Yin.

    • why am I not surprised at your comprehensive reply and understanding of Kwan Yin? Yes our Christian view of the Godhead is distinctly lacking in the Divine Feminine โ€ฆ perhaps we will begin to value the feminine more now, when she is so sorely needed all over the world โ€ฆ happy equinox dandyknife!

  8. What a beautiful, poetic post, Christine! I have not seen Lotus pods for a long time, they are so graceful. Wonderful to read about Kuan Yin.

  9. With every new blog I have to displace the last one as my favourite! That basket of lotus pods is a beautiful rich combination of colours. There is a wonderful synergy too between image and words.

    • That photo did turn out well … the pods were all on the table on the terrace, most undignified, so I saw the basket and quickly popped them in to take the final photo for the blog, and it was all very pleasing! I will bring you some when we meet … this week?

  10. This is a lovely post Christine. What a beautiful home and environment you live in. Do you just eat the seeds like sunflower seeds , or do you grind them?

    • we made a little paradise when we lived at Arcadia for 26 years, it seems we have done it again here … can’t help ourselves … I think it is all the beautiful energy we surround ourselves with and this place had its own special charm when we found it, although it was all regenerated bushland then.

  11. Well, now! What fine images of you in the lotus field in your kayak, no less. What a fine idea to have the kayak to move about the dam. Oh, how I would love to be able to have a lotus pond. I think it would be fine for most of the time, but we have some freezing temperatures during recent winters. If I am not mistaken, it’s illegal to sell them in Texas. I have to check on that again. I loved this post! The lotus pod is one of the most lovely and mysterious of plant heads. I love them arranged the way you show them here. Will the stems dry and remain attached to the pods?

    • Hello George, I am so lucky to have the kayak, a gift a few years ago … I think I saw lotus advertised for sale in Texas … perhaps you can grow them in a deep pot? Yes the stems and pods stay together like your other lovely dead things ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. A lotus jungle! How amazing are these photos, Christine. I came to see your pink sari but got diverted. The lotus leaves are so big! I love the seed head arrangement. Fascinating plants ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. What a lovely arrangement they make Christine! Puffed lotus seeds are used in curries in North India, but I have never seen them being harvested before. Love the photos of you in your kayak ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. It is good that they are harvested. If not no sunlight get to bottom of pond plants, they die, rot, use up oxygen, then fish kill and death of pond. see eutrification. Big problem in Florida.

  15. Since reading this post a few weeks back Christine, I am seeing Lotus pods everywhere in the world around me! I visited an exhibition “Courage” by Fiona Foley on the weekend, and there again, were not only sketches of long stemmed pods in one of her journals, but also one that she had cast (I think it was bronze)
    On a similar note, some years back when water lilies needed thinning out on one of our dams, we used to use a small dinghy: because being a turkey nest dam the centre was far too deep to stand (n) and work).
    And, I must thank you for visiting my blog and leaving kind words of encouragement.

    Have a lovely day!

    • you must live on acres too Maureen! Seeing your craft made me clean out all my fabrics and half-finished projects today … things are strewn from one end of the house to the other … oh dear! it will get better ๐Ÿ™‚

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