Plants and Animals

Sagittaria brevirostra Short-beaked arrowhead

Key Characteristics

Perennial floating-leafed aquatic, difficult to distinguish from other Sagittaria spp. without flowers or fruits; leaves arrow-shaped, 10 to 30 cm long, up to 20 cm wide; basal lobes equal to or longer than terminal lobe; bracts under flowers greater than 1.0 cm long; fruit an achene with beak at least 0.5 mm long and usually curved-ascending; sepals bent backward when in fruit.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Barry 1 1950
Berrien 1 2021

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Found in marshes in shallow waters and muddy shores.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Water-shield (Brasenia schreberi), yellow pond-lily (Nuphar advena), sweet-scented waterlily (Nymphaea odorata), pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus), and pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata).

Management Recommendations

A verified specimen has not been collected since 1861. One possible collection in 1950 has yet to be substantiated. A status survey is warranted in inland wetlands with standing water, focusing in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Protect habitat and maintain wetland hydrology and natural cycle of fluctuations. Periodic natural drawdowns due to low water levels increase flower production and may replenish the seed bank. Agricultural run-off has negative impacts and increases competition among species, especially with invasive species. Nutrient pollution should be minimized. Control invasive species, particularly Phragmites.

Survey Methods

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of July to fourth week of September


Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Beal, E.O. 1954. Marsh and aquatic angiosperms of Iowa: Monocotyledons. Ed. G. W. Martin State University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. 95 pp.
  • Deam, C.C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Wm. B. Burford Printing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. 1236 pp.
  • Kaul, R.B. 1991. Foliar and reproductive responses of Sagittaria calycina and Sagittaria brevirostra (Alismataceae) to varying natural conditions. Aquatic Botany 40: 47–59.
  • Larson, G.E. 1993. Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. 681 pp.
  • Murphy, M.J.C., L.R. Phillippe, and J.E. Ebinger. 2008. Vascular flora of Bonnie’s Prairie Nature Preserve, Iroquois County, Illinois. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science 102: 1–19.
  • Reznicek, A.A., E.G. Voss, and B.S. Walters. 2011. Sagittaria brevirostra Mack. & Bush. Michigan Flora Online. University of Michigan. Web. Available at: [Accessed January 10, 2020].
  • Steyermark, J. A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Iowa State University Press, Ames. 1725pp.
  • Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.
  • Winterringer, G.S., and A.C. Lopinot. 1966. Aquatic Plants of Illinois. Department of Registration and Education, Illinois State Museum Division and Department of Conservation, Division of Fisheries, Springfield, Illinois, USA. 142 pp.
  • Zhang, L.-H., Y.-W. Zhang, X.-N. Zhao, S.-J. Huang, J.-M. Zhao, and Y.-F. Yang. 2014. Effects of different nutrient sources on plasticity of reproductive strategies in a monoecious species, Sagittaria graminea (Alismataceae). Journal of Systematics and Evolution 52: 84–91.