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Sagittaria latifolia Willd.
Broadleaf arrowhead, Arrowhead, Duckroot, Duck-potato, Wapato
Synonym(s): Sagittaria chinensis, Sagittaria engelmanniana ssp. longirostra, Sagittaria esculenta, Sagittaria latifolia var. obtusa, Sagittaria latifolia var. pubescens, Sagittaria longirostra, Sagittaria obtusa, Sagittaria ornithorhyncha, Sagittaria planipes, Sagittaria pubescens, Sagittaria variabilis var. obtusa, Sagittaria viscosa
USDA Symbol: sala2
Duck-potato or arrowhead is a colony-forming, aquatic perennial, rising above water level to a height of 3 ft. The long-petioled, emergent leaves are arrowhead shaped. Flowers have showy, white petals and are arranged in a whorled raceme. Arrow-shaped basal leaves surround a taller stalk with small white flowers in whorls of three at ends of short, whorled branches. Sap milky.
This aquatic is closely related to Water Plantain. In mud, rhizomes produce starchy tubers, utilized by ducks and muskrats and known as duck potatoes. The plant was once an important source of food for Native Americans, and Wapato is one of the names they gave it. The genus name comes from sagitta, Latin for arrow, referring to the shape of the leaves of some species.
Members of the Water-Plantain Family grow in water, in swamps, on muddy banks, or occasionally in wet sand. Each plant has long-petioled leaves in a clump with a flowering stem rising among them. The flowers have 3 green sepals, 3 white or pink-tinged petals, 6 or more stamens, and several pistils. Stamens and pistils may be in separate flowers.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Green Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
, WY Canada: NB
, PE Native Distribution:
S. Canada, s. through N. America; common in c. & e. U.S. & on the Pacific coast; scattered in w. interior Native Habitat:
Still water, Marshes
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Mud, Shallow water or fully saturated soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
BenefitUse Ornamental: Water garden, Bog or pond area
Use Wildlife: Arrowheads underground tubers are preferred by at least fifteen species of ducks and by snapping turtles.
Use Food: Beneath the muck, rhizomes produce edible starchy tubers, utilized by ducks and muskrats and known as duck potatoes. First Nations are said to have opened muskrat houses to get at their cache of roots. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Description: Propagation by seed is possible.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2009-06-03
Research By: TWC Staff