Sagittaria sagittifolia (LINN.)
The Alismaceae group of plants in general contain acrid juices, on account
of which, a number of species, besides the Water Plantain, have been used
as diuretics and antiscorbutic.
Several species of Sagittaria, natives of Brazil, are astringent and
their expressed juice has been used in making ink.
The rhizome of Sagittaria sagittifolia (Linn.), the Arrowhead, Wapatoo,
and S. Chinensis (Is'-ze-kn) are used respectively by the North American
Indians and the Chinese as starchy foods, as are some other species.
The Arrowhead is a water plant widely distributed in Europe and Northern
Asia, as well as North America, and abundant in many parts of England,
though only naturalized in Scotland.
The stem is swollen at the base and throws out creeping stolons or runners,
which produce globose winter tubers, 1/2 inch in diameter, composed almost
entirely of starch.
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, like those of the Water Lily, but stand boldly above it. They are
large and arrow-shaped and very glossy. The early, submerged leaves are
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.