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(Sagittaria latifolia)

Other Names:

Duck Potato, Indian Potato, or Wapato



Alismataceae Water-plantain family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Arrowhead is a small aquatic plant with three petal white flowers arranged in whorls of three. The leaves are varied from broadly arrowhead shaped, to lance shaped, or even grass shaped. In Michigan I most often find the broad arrowhead shaped variety.


At waterline, or rising up to 3 ft above waterline.


Arrow shaped, basal, arranged around a taller center flower stalk.


Erect stems sometimes below water line


Fibrous with enlarged 1 - 2 inch potato-like tubers.



Late spring to early summer


3 greenish sepals, 3 white, or pink-tinged, roundish petals arranged in whorls of three. 6 or more stamens and multiple pistils; stamens and pistils may occur in separate flowers.



Miscellaneous characteristics:



Aquatic, growing in shallow water of pond edges, and slow moving streams.

Parts Used:

Tubers - Autumn through early spring.


Wild Food Uses:

The tubers can be gathered in large quantities by freeing them from the mud with a hoe or rake. Once free, they float to the surface of the water. Native Americans freed them by raking through the mud with their bare feet. While they are slightly bitter when eaten raw, they are delicious when cooked. Prepare them in any manner you would a potato.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

None known

Medicinal Actions:

None Known

Photo courtesy of Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1992. Western wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. West Region, Sacramento.

USDA, NRCS. 2010. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 24 July 2010). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield