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Arrow Arum

Peltandra virginica

Arrow arum grows in shallow and slow-moving fresh waters, along the edges of rivers and wetlands. (Jane Thomas/IAN Image Library)
Arrow arum grows in shallow and slow-moving fresh waters, along the edges of rivers and wetlands. (Jane Thomas/IAN Image Library)

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.

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.

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.

Other Facts:

  • 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:




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