South Dakota Native Plant Research
Alismataceae : Sagittaria cuneata

Alismataceae : Sagittaria cuneata


Download Vegetative: The leave blades are 5-20 cm long. (858 KB)

Download Flowering: Arrowhead has male and female flowers (56 KB)

Download Floating leaves and flowers (961 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Arrowhead, Duck potato


Sagittaria cuneata is a perennial aquatic herb growing from a white corm. The leaves are variable in shape and can be submerged, floating or emersed from the water, with many of them being arrow shaped. The submerged parts of the plant look different from those growing above the surface or on land. Petioles of emersed leaves are 3-50 cm long while those of floating leaves may reach 100 cm. The blades of the leaves are 5-20 cm long with two smaller, pointed lobes opposite the larger tip that makes up half or more of the leaf length. The plant is monoecious, bearing both male and female flowers. The inflorescence rises above the surface of the water on a triangular peduncle 10–50 cm long; a raceme made up of 2–10 whorls of flowers, the lowest node bearing female flowers and upper ones bearing male flowers. Each flower is up to 2.5 mm in diameter with 3 recurved sepal 4-9 mm long and white petals that are about twice the length of the sepals. The fruit are achenes attached to fruiting heads that are 0.8 to 1.5 cm wide. Arrowhead blooms from June through September in ponds, lake shores and streamside throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Arrowhead makes an attractive addition to a pond or wetland garden. The tuber-like corms have a potato-like texture and the flavor of water chestnuts, when boiled or roasted to remove their slightly bitter taste. Arrowhead tubers grow in the mud underwater and are harvested by dragging your feet at the base of the plants causing the freed tubers to float to the surface. Arrowhead attracts many pollinators including bees, flies, wasps, and beetles. Many animals feed on its seeds, stalks, and tubers. Muskrats, turtles, and ducks feed on the corms which have been referred to as Duck Potatoes.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect fruiting heads in late fall when achenes have become tan colored.

Germination: Best if planted as soon as ripe seeds are available. Strat seeds in a pot in about 5cm of water. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Gradually increase the depth of water. Plant out in late spring or early summer.

Vegetative propagation: transplant new corms in spring or autumn.

Soil: Sandy soils or silty mud in or along waters edge.

Alismataceae : Sagittaria cuneata