Will there be less lotus at Echo Park Lake this year?

echo park lake less lotus june 2016

Only a few leaves and no blooms can be seen in some parts of the lotus bed

ECHO PARK — Pink and cream-colored blossoms have already begun to emerge above the floppy green leaves of Echo Park Lake’s famed lotus bed.  But, only a few weeks before the annual Lotus Festival, large sections of the lotus bed in the northwest corner of the lake appear to be empty, devoid of flowers as well as leaves. “I don’t think the lotus are coming back as full as last year,” said Thomas DeBoe, a frequent park goer who lives across the street from the lake.

One corner of the bed looks lush and crowded with leaves and blooms. But the rest is spotty, especially around the middle section where relatively few leaves have emerged from the water.

“We were out walking around the lake a few days ago, and I thought the same – fewer plants this year,” said Stephen Roullier, whose home overlooks the lake. However, he notes, the plants “that have come up look healthy enough and about to bloom.”

The lotus – a variety of nelumbo nucifera  – have been part of Echo Park Lake for decades until they died mysteriously nearly a decade ago. When the lake was drained as part of a massive renovation, new lotus,  which were grown from a cutting taken from one of the original plants, were replanted in the lake in early 2013.  The aquatic plants grew quickly and began to bloom a few months later.

Why isn’t the bed so lush this year?  Some residents have speculated that the recent weeks of relatively cool and overcast weather may have something to do with it. Other blame workers who were seen tromping across the bed when the leaves were harvested last fall.

“Maybe it’s those damn Red Eared Sliders chewing at the roots?” said Roullier of the turtles that people dump into the lake.

With the temperatures expected to rise later this week, maybe the hotter weather will give the lotus bed the needed boost to fill in those empty spots.

echo park lake lotus empty spot june 2016

echo park lake lotus long view

The far northwest corner of the bed remains crowded with leaves and blooms

echo park lake lotus closeup june 2016

This year’s crop of lotus blooms

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. Well, despite the lake project, I’ve been wondering about the quality of that water, and maybe that is killing the plants just as the pre-project water was blamed for doing. Now it looks black, not like clear water, it looks like the lake is filled with black oil. Before the project, it looked like it was filled with green antifreeze.

    Can lotus plants grow in either antifreeze or oil?

    Considering what that water has looked like for at least more than a year now, I have to wonder whether that project was done right.

    • Clear water is in very rocky coasts and alpine lakes – echo park lake is neither; it is full of organics and creatures. Why would it be clear?

    • Your grasp of water sciences is incredible. It looks dark, therefore it must be oil or anti-freeze and plants can grow in neither! Of course, another bumble-headed move by the dummies at City Hall- Filling the lake with oil instead of water! Boy oh boy, what’s next?

  2. Wasnt there a dead body (s) found in the lake in recent months? Maybe that killed off any healthy ecosystem for lotus to bloom. I was at the lake taking photos last week. I noticed that there were only a few blooms. Last year was amazing blooms.

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