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Sagittaria latifolia Willd.

Arrowhead, broad-leaved arrowhead, broadleaf arrowhead, duck potato, Indian potato, wapato

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassAlismatidaeAquatic and marshy plants
OrderAlismatalesHerbaceous flowering plants found in marshy habitats
FamilyAlismataceaeWater-plantain family
GenusSagittariaFrom Latin sagitta, “arrow,” for the leaf shape
SpecieslatifoliaHaving wide leaves

About plant names...

Broadleaf arrowhead is a North American native. It is named for its arrowhead-shaped leaves.

Identification: Arrowhead inhabits shallow wetlands and river banks. It reaches 8-39" (20-100 cm) in height, growing in colonies. The arrowhead-shaped leaves are up to 16" (40 cm) long and 10" (25 cm) across, supported on stems (petioles) up to 24" (60 cm) long. The petioles become thicker at the base. Flowers are about 1" (2.5 cm) across, white, with yellow centers and three petals. There are 2-3 flowers per flowering stalk.


Sagittaria latifolia (arrowhead, broad-leaved arrowhead, broadleaf arrowhead, duck potato, Indian potato, wapato)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
≈ 21 × 14" (52 × 34 cm)

Broadleaf arrowhead is easily confused with arumleaf arrowhead:

Sagittaria cuneata
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Sagittaria latifolia
Common Name

arumleaf arrowhead

Flowers Each flower has three white petals with yellow centers, and three green sepals; flowers are ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) in diameter. Flower stalks held upward, not outward. Each flower has three white petals with yellow centers, and three green sepals; flowers are 1½" (4 cm) in diameter. Flower stalks held outward, not upward.
Leaves Leaves are 1¾-6" (5-15 cm) long. May also have floating or submersed leaves that are long and narrow, and floating leaves that are oval- or heart-shaped. 1¾-18" (5-45 cm) long.
Stem Stalks are triangular in cross-section. Stems angular in cross section.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 4-11
Habitats Shallow wetlands, river banks Shallow wetlands, river banks
Type Wild Wild


Edibility: The long runners these plants use to spread themselves form 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) potato-like tubers at the ends. Dislodge them from the bottom with a hoe or rake so they float to the surface, gather the tubers, and cook them like potatoes. They are said to be delicious. [From the Peterson field guide listed below.] They were an important food source for Native Americans, although now they are classed as a nuisance in many areas.

Online References:

Sagittaria latifolia on CalPhotos

Sagittaria latifolia on Missouriplants.com

Sagittaria latifolia at Illinois Wildflowers

Sagittaria latifolia on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Sagittaria latifolia on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Sagittaria latifolia on Wikipedia

Sagittaria latifolia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Sagittaria latifolia at the University of Florida IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Sagittaria latifolia on eFloras


Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 24

Sagittaria chinensis Pursh

Sagittaria engelmanniana J.G. Sm. ssp. longirostra (Micheli) Bogin

Sagittaria esculenta Howell

Sagittaria latifolia Willd. var. obtusa (Muhl. ex Willd.) Wiegand

Sagittaria latifolia Willd. var. pubescens (Muhl. ex Nutt.) J.G. Sm.

Sagittaria longirostra (Micheli) J.G. Sm.

Sagittaria obtusa Muhl. ex Willd. non Thunb.

Sagittaria ornithorhyncha Small

Sagittaria planipes Fernald

Sagittaria pubescens Muhl. ex Nutt.

Sagittaria variabilis Engelm. var. obtusa (Muhl. ex Willd.) Engelm.

Sagittaria viscosa C. Mohr


Sagittaria latifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Range: Zones 4-11:

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