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Common Name: Arrow Head
Sagittaria sagittifolia is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Most of Europe, including Britain, temperate Asia and N. America.
Ponds, canals and slow flowing water on muddy sub-strata in water up to 45cm deep, in acid or calcareous conditions[
A pond or bog garden plant, it requires a moist or wet loamy soil in a sunny position[
]. Prefers shallow, still or slowly flowing water up to 30 - 60cm deep[
Plants are fairly cold tolerant, surviving temperatures down to at least -10°c, though the top growth is damaged once temperatures fall below zero. They grow best in warm weather and require at least a six month growing season in order to produce a crop[
A polymorphic species, the sub-species S. sagittifolia leucopetala is extensively cultivated for its edible bulb in China where there are many named varieties[
Root - cooked[
]. Excellent when roasted, the taste is somewhat like potatoes. The tubers are starchy with a distinct flavour[
]. The tubers should not be eaten raw[
].The skin is rather bitter and is best removed after the tubers have been cooked[
]. Tubers can also be dried and ground into a powder, this powder can be used as a gruel etc or be added to cereal flours and used in making bread[
].The roots (tubers really) are borne on the ends of slender roots, often 30cm deep in the soil and some distance from the parent plant. The tubers of wild plants are about 15cm in diameter and are best harvested in the late summer as the leaves die down. The dried root contains (per 100g) 364 calories, 17g protein, 1g fat, 76.2g carbohydrate, 3.1g fibre, 5.8g ash, 44mg calcium, 561mg phosphorus, 8.8mg iron, 2,480mg potassium, 0.54mg thiamine, 0.14mg riboflavin, 4.76mg niacin and 17mg ascorbic acid. They contain no carotene[
Leaves and young stems - cooked[
]. Somewhat acrid.
The plant is antiscorbutic, diuretic[
The leaf is used to treat a variety of skin problems[
The tuber is discutient, galactofuge and may induce premature birth[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a pot standing in about 5cm of water. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and gradually increase the depth of water as the plants grow until it is about 5cm above the top of the pot. Plant out in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Division of the tubers in spring or autumn. Easy.
Runners potted up at any time in the growing season.