Arrowhead (Broad-Leaved) (Sagittaria latifolia)
Arrowhead 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. Its flesh is harder than a regular potato’s, but still it is succulent enough that you can bite into it. Its raw taste is bitter but if it’s boiled for about 30 minutes or roasted in campfire embers, its taste becomes similar to that of a white potato.
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: Tubers
Nutrients (Per 100 grams)
Calories – 107 Potassium – 729 mg.
Protein – 5.0 grams Thiamin – 1.60 mg.
Fat – 3 grams Riboflavin – 0.40 mg.
Calcium – 13 mg. Niacin – 1.4 mg.
Phosphorus – 165 mg. Vitamin C – 5 mg.
Iron – 2.6 mg.
Harvest: Fall – early spring.
Uses: Potato. The tubers can be gathered in quantity by freeing them from the mud with a hoe or rake and collecting them as they float to the water’s surface. Although slightly unpleasant tasting eaten raw, the tubers are delicious when cooked; prepare them as you would potatoes.
Warning: Arrowheads (not necessarily this species) may cause contact dermatitis. Do not confuse with Wild Calla or Water-arum (Calla palustris).
Arrowhead also has medicinal properties.