Arrow Arum

picture of arrow arumPeltandra virginica

Family:
Araceae

Lifecycle:
Perennial

Native or Introduced:
Native

Nutrient Removal Rating:
Medium

Wildlife Value:
Picture  of  arrow shaped leaves of Arrow Arum Medium

Invasiveness:
Medium

Rooted or Floating:
Rooted

Site Requirements:
Full sun to part shade

Maximum Water Depth:
12 inches

Plant Description:
Arrow arum produces thick roots that serve as underground storage organs. Clusters of basal leaves arise from a short stem.

Leaf petioles are green to purple-green, growing to 2 feet in length. Leaf blades are medium green, arrowhead-shaped, and measure 10-18 inches in length. Lobes are rounded rather than pointed.

Inflorescences are 2.5-10 inches across and consist of a green spathe tube that opens at flowering to reveal a spadix that can be nearly as long as the spathe. Flowers are borne on the spadix and are pale green to greenish white in color. Flowering occurs from spring to late summer. Following flowering, green berries form attached to the spadix. Fruits mature during the summer and fall.

Arrow arum lives in wetland areas such as bogs, swamps, freshwater tidal marshes, and ditches. Additionally it inhabits the edges of ponds, lakes, and rivers. It is most commonly found in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The range of this species is currently expanding.

Flowers of arrow arum are pollinated by a specialist pollinator - the chloropid fly. This insect uses inflorescences for mating sites and larval food sources. Female flys lay eggs in the inflorescence. After hatching, the larvae feed on the rotting male portion of the flowering structure.

Sources:

  • Audlbach-Smith, C.A., deKozlowski, S.J. 1996. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
  • Flora of North America (see link below),

Additional reading: