Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Sagittaria latifolia Willd.
ALISMATACEAE (Water-Plantain Family)
EtymologySagittaria is derived from the Latin sagitta = arrow, because of its arrow-shaped leaves; latifolia means broad-leaved, from the Latin: latis = broad or wide + folium = leaf.
Synonyms (Common Name)Broad-leaved Arrowhead, Duck Potato, Swamp Potato, Wapato
DescriptionAn emergent aquatic, perennial herb that grows 1-4' tall, common arrowhead is a stemless plant that is distinguished by its arrow-shaped leaves and its edible, potato-like tubers growing under the mud. Leaves of common arrowhead vary greatly in size from broad to narrow, and in shape from arrow-like to elliptical -- even on the same plant.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Height1-4 feet
LeavesDeciduous, simple, entire, to 12 " long and 8" wide, but with great variety in size and width; arrow-shaped (sometimes elliptical) with triangular basal lobes; parallel veins emanate from a single point on the leaf.
Flower/InflorescenceWhite with bright yellow center, 1-1 1/2" wide, showy, 3-sepals, 3 petals; 2-15 whorls of 3 flowers on long (to 3 1/2'), erect stalk; female flowers lowest on stem, males at top.
Flowering PeriodJuly-September
FruitAchene, tiny, flat, with winged margins in seedpod up to 1/2" wide; seedpods usually in whorls of 3.
HabitatSwamps, marshes, ponds, lakes, and streams.
RangeNova Scotia to British Columbia; south throughout most of U.S.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett