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Common Name: Chinese Arrowroot
Sagittaria trifolia is a Perennial up to 1.00 metres tall.
It has edible and medicinal uses.
Most of Asia from Russia to China.
Ponds, lakes, marshes, paddy fields and channels[
There is considerable confusion over the correct name of this species. We have adopted the approach followed in the Flora of China[
] which seperates this species from S. sagittifolia and then divides it into two varieties, S. trifolia var trifolia - the wild form with smaller tubers, and S. trifolia var sinensis - a cultivated form with larger tubers.
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, this sub-species is extensively cultivated for its edible tuber 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.