Wapato Seeds (Sagittaria latifolia)
Also known as duck potato or arrowroot, Wapato is an acclaimed wild food plant, producing versatile edible tubers that can be prepared like potatoes (roasted, mashed, fried, or apparently even dried and pounded into flour). We know of both historic and contemporary cultivation work with this plant (not simply wild collection), yet it remains an often overlooked, under-examined, and yet fascinating and prolific food plant -- one that can live indefinitely in prime locations, providing sustainable tuber crops year-after-year.
Occurring across most of North America, this is a true aquatic perennial found growing both directly in soft-bottomed ponds, wetlands, and along slow-moving rivers, as well as in saturated soils barely above the waterline. Interestingly the tubers (which are borne upon the ends of rhizomes, like potatoes), float, so that once they dislodged from the soil they rise to the surface. This allows the tubers to be carried by currents, finding new places to re-root themselves, or to become food for ducks, turtles, and muskrats.
Wapato seeds germinate while fully submerged, and are best sown in the fall into 2 to 15 inches of water with soft substrates (this species benefits from cold stratification for best germination). Mature plants produce white and yellow flowers on 2 to 3-foot tall stalks that are attractive to bumble bees, while the leaves stay around 12 to 18 inches in height.
Wapato is under-utilized in wet bioswales and engineered stormwater retention ponds. It makes a fascinating potted plant (with tropical-like foliage) for creating a miniature wetland to enjoy on your porch. It adds pollinator and wildlife value to backyard ponds. For the right person, this could even be an incredibly prolific wetland garden food crop.
0.5 grams (Approximately 200 - 300 seeds)