Herb: Duck Potato

Latin name: Sagittaria latifolia

Synonyms: Sagittaria obtusa, Sagittaria variabilis

Family: Alismataceae (Water-plantain Family)

Medicinal use of Duck Potato:

A poultice of the leaves has been used to stop milk production. A tea made from the roots is used as a digestive. A poultice of the roots is used in the treatment of wounds and sores.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Ditches, ponds, lakes and swampy areas in most parts of N. America.

Edible parts of Duck Potato:

Root - raw or cooked. Excellent when roasted, the texture is somewhat like potatoes with a taste like sweet chestnuts. The tubers can be eaten raw but they are rather bitter (especially the skin). It is best to remove this skin after the tubers have been cooked. The tubers can also be dried and ground into a powder, this powder can be used as a gruel or mixed with cereal flours and used to make bread. The N. American Indians would slice the boiled roots into thin sections and then string them on ropes to dry in much the same way as apples.The egg-shaped tubers are 4 - 5cm long and are borne on the ends of slender roots, often 30cm deep in the soil and some distance from the parent plant. The tubers are best harvested in the late summer as the leaves die down. They cannot be harvested by pulling out the plant since the tops break off easily, leaving the tubers in the ground.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a pot standing in about 5cm of water. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and gradually increase the depth of water as the plants grow until it is about 5cm above the top of the pot. Plant out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Division of the tubers in spring or autumn. Easy. Runners potted up at any time in the growing season.

Cultivation of Duck Potato:

Ditches, ponds, lakes and swampy areas in most parts of N. America.

Known hazards of Sagittaria latifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.