Sagittaria, or arrowhead, is a perennial plant with characteristic arrow point shaped leaves.
Many species abound, some with leaves so narrow it resembles grass while others possess 3 points opposite the leaf tip. The plant is capable of growing to a height of 4 feet or more, growing leaves from the base. This plant has extensive rhizomes, but some species also grow tubers at the roots. The flower is white, or pink, on a stalk apart from the leaf stems and has three petals. The plant spreads quickly either by seeding or the rhizomes.
A partially submerged aquatic plant providing shelter for invertebrates, both micro and macro in size. Ducks, geese and other pond life love the tubers and will sometimes eat the seeds as well.
Planting the tuber is generally the fastest way to generate plants and should be planted in the fall, winter or early spring. Requiring moist soil, or totally in the water, the plant will grow and flourish as long as the your pond is balanced.
The tubers can be eaten as one would eat a potato, found by Lewis and Clark at the mouth of the Willamette RIver in Oregon. One species grows in China, is sold as food because it is so full of starch. The Sagittaria is cultivated in the Bay area of San Francisco for sale to the Chinese restaurant industry. The Navajo use the plant as a headache remedy, the Chippewa and Ojibwa used it for indigestion, the Cherokee infused the leaves to help bring a fever down, and the Iroquois not only used it for rheumatism, dermatology, laxative, but also as a ceremonial blessing at corn planting.
The muskrat, a valuable part of the wetland ecology, feeds on the arrowhead. Both the muskrat and the beaver increase wetlands by opening the dense stands of Typha and Cheonoplectis to make way for the Sagittaria to establish itself in open waters.