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Narrow-leaved Arrowhead

Sagittaria subulata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Alismataceae (Water Plantain)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Floodplains, gardens, marshes, ponds, saltmarshes, water, wetland.

White, 3 petals
Whorls of white flowers are produced.
Globular-shaped fruit.
The leaves are narrow and linear. Floating and submerged leaves are present. There are no aerial leaves. Perennial.
Other Names:
Awl-leaf Arrowhead, Dwarf Sagittaria.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Sagittaria subulata, also known as dwarf arrowhead or grassleaf arrowhead, is a perennial plant that is native to North America. It belongs to the aroid family and is known for its small, white flowers and arrow-shaped leaves. Sagittaria subulata is a low-growing plant that is often found in wetland or aquatic areas. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. Sagittaria subulata prefers full sun and is drought-tolerant once established. The plant is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as slugs and snails. Sagittaria subulata is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Narrow-leaved Arrowhead, also known as Sagittaria subulata, is a perennial aquatic plant that is native to the United States. It is commonly found in the shallow waters of wetlands, ponds, and streams.

One of the most striking features of this plant is its distinctive arrow-shaped leaves. The leaves are typically 1-3 inches long and are arranged in a rosette pattern at the base of the plant. The leaves are narrow and pointed, giving the plant its common name of Narrow-leaved Arrowhead.

In addition to its unique leaves, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead also produces small, white flowers that bloom in the summer. These flowers are arranged in clusters on a tall stalk that can reach up to 3 feet in height. The flowers are attractive to a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Not only is Narrow-leaved Arrowhead a beautiful addition to any wetland or water garden, it also provides valuable ecological services. The plant is a known to help improve water quality by removing excess nutrients from the water. It also provides shelter and food for a variety of aquatic animals, including fish, turtles, and waterfowl.

Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is relatively easy to grow and maintain. It prefers full sun to partial shade and wet soil conditions. It can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes or by seed. It is also a hardy plant that can survive in temperatures as low as -20°F.

Another interesting aspect of Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is its medicinal properties. Historically, the plant has been used by Native American tribes to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, diarrhea, and skin conditions. The root of the plant has been used as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, while the leaves have been used as a diuretic and to treat respiratory issues.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is also edible. The young leaves and shoots can be cooked and eaten like spinach, and the roots can be dried and ground into a flour. It is also important to note that all parts of the plant are edible, and it is not toxic.

Another benefit of Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is that it is a fast grower which can be beneficial for the restoration of wetlands and other aquatic habitats. In addition, it can help prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines and providing cover for fish and other aquatic animals.

In addition, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is a great plant for gardeners who want to create an attractive water feature in their garden. It can be planted in a pond or in a container submerged in water. When planted in a container, the plant can be moved around the garden to different locations.

Overall, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is an excellent choice for those looking for an attractive and useful aquatic plant. It is a hardy, fast-growing plant that can provide a variety of benefits, from improving water quality to providing food and medicine. It is also a great choice for wetlands restoration projects and for gardeners looking to create a water feature in their garden.

It's also worth noting that Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is a great plant for wildlife, it provides food and cover for a variety of aquatic animals, including fish, turtles, and waterfowl. The plant's leaves and stems are eaten by muskrats, beavers, and other herbivorous animals, while its roots provide shelter and food for crayfish, snails, and other aquatic invertebrates.

Furthermore, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is known to be an important food source for waterfowl, especially ducks, geese, and swans. The seeds of the plant can be eaten by waterfowl during the fall and winter months, when other food sources are scarce.

In terms of care, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers wet soil conditions and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade. The plant can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes or by seed, and it is also a hardy plant that can survive in temperatures as low as -20°F.

However, It is important to note that Narrow-leaved Arrowhead can become invasive in some areas, so it is important to monitor its growth and contain it if necessary. In addition, it is important to plant it in the appropriate location, for example, in a pond or a container submerged in water.

In conclusion, Narrow-leaved Arrowhead is a versatile and useful aquatic plant that can provide many benefits to the environment and to gardeners. It is an attractive plant with unique arrow-shaped leaves and small white flowers. It also has medicinal properties and is edible, it is a valuable food source for wildlife and a great plant for wetlands restoration projects. It is easy to grow and maintain and can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes or by seed. However, it is important to keep an eye on its growth to avoid it from becoming invasive.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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