Sagittaria sagittifolia is a herbaceous aquatic perennial that reaches sizes of 1m by 0.5m . It is a hardy species that is not frost tender. The leaves are borne on triangular stalks that vary in length with the depth of the water in which the plant is growing. They do not lie on the water but stand boldly above it. They are large and arrow-shaped and very glossy. The early, submerged leaves are ribbon like. The flower-stem rises directly from the root and bears several rings of buds and blossoms, three in each ring or whorl, and each flower composed of three outer sepals and three large, pure white petals, with a purple blotch at their base. The upper flowers are stamen bearing; the lower ones generally contain the seed vessels only. S. sagittifolia's tubers are walnut sized and grow just below the mud surface, produced on creeping runners (Grieve, 2005; National Plant Pest Accord, 2001; and Plants for a Future, 2000).
North American region: S. sagittifolia flowers in mid-summer, and the seeds ripen through the fall. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by insects (Plants for a Future, 2000).
Plants for a Future (2000) offers a variety of uses both edible and medicinal for S. sagittifolia . The leaves and roots of S. sagittifolia are edible. The root can be cooked and is apparently excellent when roasted and likened to potatoes. The tubers are starchy with a distinct flavour, but should not be eaten raw. The leaves and young stems can also be cooked but are apparently somewhat acrid. The plant also has medicinal properties as an antiscorbutic; diuretic, and galactofuge but may induce premature birth. The authors post a disclaimer for all edible and medical knowledge: \"We are not experts on the medicinal uses of plants and much of the information has been taken from other sources. You should talk to someone who knows what they are on about before using any of these plants. Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants\" (Plants for a Future, 2000).
Sagittaria sagittifolia can inhabit ponds, canals and slow flowing water on muddy sub-strata in water up to 45cm deep, in acid or calcareous conditions (Plants for a Future, 2000). Scher (UNDATED) adds that S. sagittifolia can be found in Sub-arctic to tropical environments, in quiet, shallow, standing waters, including swamps, reservoirs, rice paddies, river banks, bays.
Reproduction is by achenes and vegetatively by whole, immature plants and underground tubers. Seeds float easily and can be carried long distances (Scher, UNDATED).
Principal source: Plants for a Future, 2000. Sagittaria sagittifolia
Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme (Copyright statement)
Review: Dr. Surrey Jacobs Principal Research Scientist Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney NSW, Australia
Publication date: 2006-11-29
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2022) Species profile: Sagittaria sagittifolia. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=858 on 07-10-2022.