Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for White Arrow-arum - Peltandra sagittifolia   (Michaux) Morong
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Author(Michaux) Morong
DistributionAlmost strictly limited to coastal counties from mainland Dare southward to the SC state line; the range lies essentially within 25 miles of the coast, except for a disjunct record in Washington County (note that the directions on the label are incorrect; should say "15 mi E of Plymouth" instead of "15 mi W of Plymouth").

This is a lower Coastal Plain species, ranging north to eastern NC, and then south to central FL and west to eastern LA.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon. It is a State Significantly Rare species, though with a State Rank of S2S3 it is not overly rare in the state.
HabitatThis species requires wet acidic soils, of pocosin openings and various openings in mostly blackwater swamps. A number of records are from wet places in powerline clearings, where they pass through a pocosin.
PhenologyBlooms from July to August, noticeably later than that of its congener (P. virginica), which blooms mainly in May and June. Both species fruit fairly soon after flowering. The round, berrylike fruits are bright red (vs. green to brown in P. virginica.
IdentificationThis is one of several aquatic plants with fairly large triangular leaves and with a cordate to hastate base. It has a leaf stalk of over 1 foot long, and the several leaf blades are roughly 8 inches long and 4 inches wide, narrowing at the apex and with a hastate and ear-lobed base. It is probably unsafe to identify this scarce species just by the leaves, but when in bloom it is unmistakable. The flowering stalk grows in an erect manner to about 1.5 feet high, topped by a strikingly white, partly opened (somewhat triangular in shape) spathe that averages 3-4 inches long. The white "spoon" glows against the green foliage of the rest of the plant and other plants in its pocosin habitat and is very conspicuous; it identifies the plant at a great distance.
Taxonomic CommentsThe specific epitaph was formerly spelled as "sagittaefolia". Essentially all recent references spell that now as "sagittifolia".

Other Common Name(s)Spoonflower. This is an often used name, but it is idiosyncratic, conjuring no relationship to any group of plants. Though it is descriptive of the spathe, the fact that Peltandra is considered as the genus of "arrow-arums", and that P. virginica is usually named as that or better as Green Arrow-arum, the other commonly used name of White Arrow-arum is best used for P. sagittifolia.
State RankS2S3
Global RankG3G4
State StatusSR-P
US Status
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B.A. SorrieDare County, 2013, same data. DarePhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieDare County, boggy ditch along US 264. DarePhoto_natural

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