Broadleaf Arrowhead - Duck Potato - Wapato
Sagittaria latifolia
Alismataceae (Water-Plantain) Family


 

The plant is a variably sized perennial growing in colonies that can cover large amounts of ground. The roots are white and thin, producing white tubers covered with a purplish skin. The roots extend a good distance from the mother plant to create large masses. Broadleaf Arrowhead is an emergent plant forming dense colonies on very wet soils, becoming more open as the species mixes with other species of deeper water levels. The colonies form long bands following the curves of rivers, ponds and lakes. The roots are strong and can survive through wide variations of water level, slow currents and waves.

The leaves are also extremely variable, from very thin to thick, wedge shaped, spongy and solid, adorned with parallel veins in the middle and the extremities.

The flowers are a raceme usually arranged in whorles of three. Each whorl is usually divided into female flowers on the lower part and male flowers on the upper, although some bisexual individuals are also found. There will be three round, white petals and three very short curved dark green sepals. Male flowers are easily distinguished from female due to the dissimilarity between the 25 to 50 yellow stamens of the male and the sphere of green carpels of the female.

Despite the name Duck Potato, ducks rarely consume the tubers, which are usually buried too deep for them to reach, although they often eat the seeds. Beavers and muskrats, however, eat the whole plant, tubers included.

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