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Sagittaria lancifolia (Lanceleaf arrowhead)
Mathews, Ray

Sagittaria lancifolia

Sagittaria lancifolia L.

Lanceleaf Arrowhead, Duck-potato, Bulltongue Arrowhead, Bull-tongue Arrowhead

Alismataceae (Water-Plantain Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N)

This perennial arises with basal leaves to 3-6 feet tall from tuber-producing rhizomes. The leaves have long petioles and arrowhead shaped leaf blades to 10 inches long. Submerged leaves are lance-shaped or even bladeless. The to 1 inch wide 3 petaled white flowers appear in late spring and summer.

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.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Leaf Base: Cuneate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: green
Flower: Sepals 3
Fruit: To 2.5 mm

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: White, rarely pink tinged.


USA: AL , DE , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , OK , SC , TX , VA
Native Habitat: This is the most common arrowhead of eastern North America. It grows at low elevations in shallow water on the fringe of ponds, lakes, streams and wet ditches.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Aquatic: yes
Conditions Comments: Arrowheads are reliable perennials used for water gardens. In nature, they are emergent aquatic plants that grow on the margins of ponds and slow moving streams. They should be planted no deeper that 12" in a water garden in a full sun location.


Use Food: Called Duck Potato or Wapato because of its edible egg-shaped rhizomes. Native Americans cleared ponds of competing plants to locate and harvest the tubers in fall. The tubers were stored and cooked as needed, providing an excellent source of carbohydrates.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1991 VOL. 8, NO.3 - Native Plants Provide a Wealth of Foods and Fibers, Letter from the President, A...
Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Sagittaria lancifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Sagittaria lancifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Sagittaria lancifolia


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: JSC

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