Sagittaria latifolia

Common Names: Broadleaf arrowhead, duck-potato, Indian potato, wapato
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Alismataceae family

Variably sized (2 to 20 meters in length) 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 a good distance (0.3 to 1 m long, 0.15 to 0.6 meter deep) from the mother plant. It is green and white. The plant produces rosette of leaves and an inflorescence on a long rigid scape. The leaves are extremely variable, from very thin at 1 to 2 cm to wedge shaped like those of Sagittaria cuneata. Spongy and solid, the leaves have parallel venation meeting in the middle and the extremities. The inflorescence is a raceme composed of large flowers whorled by threes. Usually divided into female flowers on the lower part and male on the upper, although dioecious individuals are also found. 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 ones.

Found growing in and near water along the edges of rivers, ponds and lakes.

Edible Notes: This plant produces edible tubers that were extensively used by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. It is reported that they can be eaten both raw and cooked and the flavor is comparable to potatoes and chestnuts. Other edible parts include late summer buds and fruits.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.