Archive for the ‘Family: Arrowhead’ Category

In August in Maine, I found this white flower growing on the edge of a marsh.  The flowers branch off delicately from one stalk and have 3 roundish waxy-looking petals. This species appears to be the grass-leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea) because I think these leaves were lance-like or grasslike, although I didn’t get a picture of them.  Other arrowheads have arrowhead-shaped leaves, which is where this family of flowers gets its name.  This could be a broad-leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) which is the most common species and leaves can be variable (arrowhead-shaped and lance-shaped leaves within the same species) but I am unsure.  Arrowheads are aquatic and grow near pond edges in quiet, shallow water.

Grass-Leaved Arrowhead, Southern Maine, August, 2011

Grass-Leaved Arrowhead, Southern Maine, August, 2011

Another name for this plant is “Duck Potato”.  Small 1-2 inch potato-like tubers form at the ends of long subterranean runners that originate at the base of each plant.  You can use these tubers like a potato. Gather them by freeing them from the mud with a hoe or rake and collect them as they float to the water’s surface. According to my “Edible Wild Plants” Peterson Field Guide, these tubers are unpleasant raw but taste very good when cooked.  Collect them in the fall to early spring.  Maybe I will try to find some now that it is fall!

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