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Sagittaria lancifolia


Sagittaria lancifolia L.

Family Name: Alismataceae
Synonyms: Sagittaria acutifolia L.f., Sagittaria angustifolia Lindl.
Common Name: Bulltongue arrowhead, Arrow leaf, 野慈姑


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Emergent, Waterside / Marginal), Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution North America and Europe
Native Habitat Terrestrial, Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Aquatic herbs arising from rhizomes reaching to about 1.5 m tall (maximum height of 2 m) that live in marshes or along river edges.
Roots Rhizomes are coarse and produce tuber. 
Foliage Emersed leaves are lance –shaped, basal, long-petiolate (44 – 58 cm). Leaf blades ranged from linear to ovate or elliptic, about 0.7– 16 cm wide with a thick mid rib. Leaf morphology and length vary with amount of phosphorous level in the soil, hence acting as potential indicator of nutrients limitation. 
Flowers Emersed inflorescence is raceme and has 6 to 13 whorls with white flowers in whorls of 3. Each flower is 3.3 cm wide. There are 3 sepals which are recurved to spreading in staminate flowers; not enclosing flower or fruit head. Bracts are lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acute to acuminate at the apex and ranged from 0.5 to 1 inch. 
Fruit Brown obovoid to oval achenes about 1.5 to 2.7 mm long, 1.22 mm wide; are flat, beaked, and winged. Achenes have a grooved surface which increases its surface area in contact with water, thus increasing their floatability. 
Etymology Sagittaria refers to the leaf-blade of the plant, which is shaped like the point of an arrow.  lancifolia come from the Latin word "lancifolius" meaning to have leaves shaped like a lance-head. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Roots
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): The root can be eaten raw or cooked and tasted like sweet chestnut when roasted. The tuber can be dried and ground into a powder and used to make bread.
Medicinal: The roots are used as a digestive and treatment of wounds and sores.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils, Heavy Clay Soils, Acidic (low pH) Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Storage Organ (Tuberous Root), Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Raceme, Panicle
Flower Lifespan on Plant 1 Day

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Green
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown

Image Repository



Master ID 31324
Species ID 5721
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 February 2022.