Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Engelmann's Arrowhead - Sagittaria engelmanniana   J.G. Smith
Members of Alismataceae:
Members of Sagittaria with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Alismatales » Family Alismataceae
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AuthorJ.G. Smith
DistributionIn NC found mostly in the Sandhills region; disjunct farther east to Craven, Carteret, and Onslow counties.

This is a mainly Coastal Plain species, primarily of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, ranging from MA and NY south to northern FL and west to MS. It has not been recorded in TN, KY, or WV.
AbundanceInfrequent to locally fairly common in the Sandhills, but mostly rare elsewhere in the southern Coastal Plain. Not known elsewhere in the state, though it could occur in the northern Coastal Plain. The NCNHP considers it as a Watch List species.
HabitatThis Sagittaria species favors strongly acidic wetlands, usually in full sun. It occurs along blackwater streams and streamheads, beaver ponds, and impoundments, especially when water levels recede.
PhenologyBlooms from June to October, and fruits shortly after blooming.
IdentificationThis is one of just several arrowhead species with truly arrowhead-shaped leaf blades. In this species, the blade is typically much narrower than in the common S. latifolia and the infrequent S. australis. Those two have a roughly broadly triangular blade, but this species has a "skinny" leaf that may be up to 8 inches long but barely 1-2 inches wide, with the two basal lobes being less than 1 inch wide and quite acute in shape. The flowering stem can be up to 1.5 feet long, but this species has flowers in just 2-4 whorls, instead of normally 4-12 or more whorls in the other two species. Each flower has 3 white petals and can be 1 inch across. This species should be readily identified just by its very slender leaf shape, and walking around the shores of sandhills ponds might yield this species.
Taxonomic CommentsThis has always been a good species, but some references have included S. australis (= S. longirostra) within it. Most references have these entities now split out; in fact even RAB (1968) had them as good species, but the latter was named as S. longirostra.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2
Global RankG5?
State StatusW1
US Status
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B.A. SorrieRichmond County, 2009, Sandhills Game Land, Crappie Lake, water drained. RichmondPhoto_natural
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