Arrow Arum

Peltandra virginica

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Grows in shallow and slow-moving fresh waters, including marshes and swamps, on tidal flats, and along the edges of rivers and streams. Forms large, dense colonies.

  • Range

    Throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, including Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

  • Status

    Stable

Arrow arum is a native perennial plant with large, arrowhead-shaped leaves. It grows in shallow, tidal fresh waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.

Appearance

Arrow arum has long, thick, arrowhead-shaped leaves with prominent veins down the middle and along the edge. The leaves can be up to 18 inches in length and nearly 6 inches wide. Leaves grow from the top of stalks, which grow from a thick rootstock that is embedded in the mud. A white flower spike contained in a green sheath blooms in May to July. Arrow arum grows to 3 feet tall.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

After blooming, flower spikes mature into dark, drooping pods full of large, green seeds. The pods eventually split open and release their seeds.

Did You Know?

  • Arrow arum gets its name from its arrowhead-shaped leaves. It is also known as tuckahoe or duck corn.
  • It can be confused with pickerelweed, which it often grows near. You can distinguish arrow arum by its arrowhead-shaped leaves and white flowers. Pickerelweed has heart-shaped leaves and blue flowers.
  • Rails, muskrats, wood ducks and black ducks all rely on arrow arum for food.
  • Some Native American tribes used dried, pulverized arrow arum roots as flour for making bread. The plant’s fruits were sometimes cooked and eaten like peas.

Sources and Additional Information

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Grows in shallow and slow-moving fresh waters, including marshes and swamps, on tidal flats, and along the edges of rivers and streams. Forms large, dense colonies.

  • Range

    Throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, including Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

  • Status

    Stable