Dried lotus harvesting clears for new spring blooms

Wu Huixin
First new buds will open in late May and early June at the iconic Hangzhou attraction so plants are fenced against fish during April.
Wu Huixin
Dried lotus harvesting clears for new spring blooms

Dried lotuses are collected to create a favorable environment for new seeds.

The undulating lotus flowers in the West Lake withered during the autumn but their dried stems continued to add a poetic vibe through February to inspire the shutterbugs.

But as they may stifle the sprouting of new lotus seeds in the upcoming spring, local authorities started on February 14 to harvest the dried plants to create a favorable environment for new life.

"We clean them up to better protect the famed West Lake lotus, since the decayed lotus may cause water pollution when the temperatures rise," said Yu Yangyang, vice director of the Water Management Department of West Lake Scenic Area.

"A new machine that could go 15 centimeters deep underwater has been installed on the boat. It has a faster cutting speed and higher efficiency than manual work. The harvest process has been increased by over 30 percent compared to previous years. All the dead lotus would be transformed into organic fertilizer," said Yu.

The lotus flowers in the West Lake were eulogized in proses and poems by scholars in ancient times and keep attracting swarms of visitors in modern times. However, their long-lasting beauty cannot be maintained without many years of maintenance work.

Generally, the first group of buds open in late May and early June. April is the key period as the stems and roots are budding underwater. Workers need to fence the lotus area to protect plants from attacks by fish.

The abundance of wild aquatic plants in the lake starts to squeeze the available area for the lotus in early May, so workers are required to clear them out for the lotus.

In midsummer, pink and white lotus flowers are in full bloom. To create more space for the densely dotted plants, workers are dispatched to pluck leaves and seedpods between late July and August.

The fresh seedpods that taste refreshing and aromatic are available to buy in August.

Dried lotus harvesting clears for new spring blooms
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