Nelumbo nucifera is an ornamental species sporadically naturalized from cultivation over the area mapped in the southeastern United States. Although Virginia, Kentucky, and Delaware are within the range, I know of no collections from Virginia or Delaware and of no wild-growing specimens of N . nucifera in Kentucky. The species was listed in a flora of New York (R. S. Mitchell 1986); I have not seen a voucher specimen for the report.
The seeds of Nelumbo nucifera have been shown to remain viable for several hundred years under certain conditions (D. A. Priestley and M. A. Posthumus 1982).