July 21, 2017

Duck, Duck, Potato?

Sagittaria latifolia

Sagittaria latifolia – Common arrowhead | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

What’s good for a duck is good for a human, at least where Sagittaria latifolia is concerned. Common arrowhead grows in wetlands in nearly every state in the nation. The plant is edible: the  rhizomes, young leaves, young shoots and young inflorescences, while the corms are highly valued and were eaten by native Americans. The common names for this plant, photographed in bloom in Baxter State Park in August, include Indian potato and duck potato. Ducks, however, eat the greenery, while other animals, including beavers, porcupines and muskrats, are capable of eating the whole plant. Well, how often do you see a duck digging up a potato?

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.

Earlier in 2012, Glen began working to catalog the plants of Baxter State Park, which you can read about here and find out how to sponsor a plant of your own. Courtesy of a poll taken earlier this year, Garden Maine is sponsoring this lovely plant.