Identification: Aquatic perennial. Leaves arrow-shaped; lobes 1/2 to as long as main part of leaf. Flowers white; petals 3, rounded; filaments of 7 to 10 stamens smooth. The bracts beneath the flowers are blunt-tipped, thin, and papery. The beak of the mature fruit (achene) projects at a right angle from the main part of the fruit. Height 1 to 4 feet.
The mature plant sends out underground runners at the end of which, maybe 15 inches (40 cm) from the plant’s base, you find either a new plant sprouting, or a “duck potato.” This tuber is white, somewhat egg-shaped, and about the size of a golf ball.
Family: Alismataceae (Water Plantain Family)
Flowers: June – September.
Other Names: Duck Potato, Wapato
Habitat: Wet sites or shallow water along lake and stream margins, marshes and swamps.
Parts Used: Roots and leaves.
Constituents: Sagittariol, Daucosterol, Sagittifolia
Medicinal Properties: American Indians used the edible tubers in tea for indigestion; poulticed them for wounds and sores. Leaf tea was used for rheumatism and to wash babies with fever. Leaves were poulticed to stop milk production. Roots were eaten like potatoes (see Wild Foods).
Warning: Arrowheads (not necessarily this species) may cause contact dermatitis. Do not confuse with Wild Calla or Water-arum (Calla palustris).
Arrowhead is also a wild food.