Katniss (The Plant)

The Katniss (Scientific name: Sagittaria sagittifolia) is an aquatic flowering plant found in parts of District 12.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

Also known as the ‘arrowhead’ plant, the Katniss produces an edible vegetable that can help one survive in the wild. This is the plant after which Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games trilogy was named.

Katniss Plant Description

I noticed the plants growing around me. Tall with leaves like arrowheads. Blossoms with three white petals. I knelt down in the water, my fingers digging into the soft mud, and I pulled up handfuls of the roots. Small, bluish tubers that don’t look like much but boiled or baked are as good as any potato. “Katniss,” I said aloud. It’s the plant I was named for. And I heard my father’s voice joking, “As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.

Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

The katniss plant grows in damp areas such as the wetlands, the meadow and the woods across the fence of District 12. It grows tall with green leaves that resemble arrowheads. The katniss flower has three tiny petals, while the vegetable is a kind of potato that looks like small blue tubers. The katniss plant is a real plant that goes by many names, including arrowhead (due to its arrow-shaped leaves), Sagittaria, tule potato, swamp potato, duck potato, swan potato, Omadoka, and wapato. The taste of the katniss plant is similar to that of sweet potato. Katniss is widely found in the Americas, while some species are found in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Katniss through the Ages

Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the Hunger Games trilogy, is named after the Katniss plant by her father. She is taught by her father to look for her namesake any time she is struggling for food. Thus, katniss becomes one of the first foods that Katniss learns to forage, during her hunting sessions with her father. When she was 12 years old, she would forage katniss roots while she and her father went hunting for waterfowl, and she learned how to cook the roots before consuming them.

The katniss plant comes to the rescue after her father’s death when Katniss and her family are struggling to feed themselves. She remembers her father’s advice on finding her namesake to keep from starving and later brings the plant back home to feed her sister and her mother.

The katniss plant makes an appearance in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as well. After the 10th Hunger Games, Clerk Carmine provides Lucy Gray Baird with some katniss to eat. However, as she informed Coriolanus Snow, it was too early in the season to consume it. A couple of weeks later, when Lucy and Snow are escaping into the woods together, Lucy goes to dig up the katniss plant, which she then deems ripe enough to be eaten safely.

Katniss as a Symbol

Katniss Everdeen is named after the katniss plant, most likely for her hardiness, versatility, and will to survive. The katniss plant is also known as “arrowhead”, symbolizing Katniss’ superior skills in archery.

Flowers in The Hunger Games 


Katniss’ sister, Primrose Everdeen is named after the evening flower, Primrose. The primrose flowers have several healing properties, much like Primrose herself, who became a healer under her mother’s tutelage. It is also used as a softening agent. After the Second Rebellion and Primrose’s death, it is the sight of the evening primrose flower (planted by Peeta outside Katniss’ home in the Victors’ Village as a tribute to Prim) that acts as a cure and heals Katniss from her grief and trauma from the Rebellion. The plants thrives in land that is forsaken (like the Rockies) and cannot survive in the Capitol, which is where Prim also dies.


Dandelions are heavily associated with Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games. This is because after Peeta gives Katniss the piece of burnt bread that saves her family from starvation, Katniss sees Peeta again next to a field of dandelions. This is when she remembers her father’s plant book, which demonstrated the nutritional value of dandelions. Dandelion leaves contain a great amount of iron and more beta carotene than carrots.

Katniss and her sister then picked as many dandelion flowers as they could and made a nice meal of dandelion salad with them. This is when Katniss gets a renewed appetite and gains the strength to begin hunting and foraging for food, thus giving herself and her family a second chance at life and a new tomorrow. As such, Peeta, who is associated with dandelions, also acts as a symbol of hope and new beginnings.


Rue, the young female tribute from District 11 who becomes an important ally of Katniss’ during the 74th Hunger Games, is named after a flower called rue that is found on the rue plant. The rue flower is a beautiful yellow flower that Katniss notices growing in the meadow in the woods of District 12.


It’s there. The white rose among the dried flowers in the vase. Shriveled and fragile, but holding on to that unnatural perfection cultivated in Snow’s greenhouse. I grab the vase, stumble down to the kitchen, and throw its contents into the embers. As the flowers flare up, a burst of blue flame envelops the rose and devours it. Fire beats roses again.

Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire

The white rose is President Snow’s choice of flower for his lapel. It is also the flower that is heavily associated with him, as he has a greenhouse dedicated to growing white roses whose smell has been genetically enhanced by scientists. Anyone who has stood close to Snow can tell how he reeks of this smell all the time. Finnick Odair later reveals in Mockingjay that Snow wears these roses to mask the smell of blood in his mouth. He reveals how Snow climbed to the top by poisoning his enemies and threw them off guard by ingesting small amounts of the poison himself. This led to bleeding mouth sores which he thereby masks with the smell of roses.

Katniss is extremely terrified of white roses, mainly because of their association with President Snow and his brutal control over the districts. The white rose is one of the most important metaphors and comes to represent imminent danger and a looming threat to Katniss and her family. President Snow is aware of the effect that roses have on Katniss, and constantly uses them to send her messages.

Other Plants of Significance in The Hunger Games

  • Honeysuckle: When Katniss gets several tracker jacker stings, she sucks on honeysuckle nectar (by removing the stamen) to soothe herself.
  • Nightlock: A combination of the deadly nightshade and poison hemlock (conium maculatum in Latin); produces the deadly nightlock berries.
  • Pond Lilies: In the arena, Katniss plans to survive on little fish from the pond and roots of the pond lilies, which are edible rhizomes.


What does the Peeta plant symbolize?   

Unlike Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark is not named after a plant. However, Peeta has come to symbolize various things in the Hunger Games universe, including integrity, hope, and a fresh beginning.

What is the primrose plant in The Hunger Games?

The primrose is a flowering plant whose flower resembles a white rose in many ways. Katniss’ sister, Prim, is named after this medicinal plant. Prim becomes a healer during the course of the trilogy, much like the plant for which she is named, which is known for its medicinal properties.

How do you grow a Katniss plant?

You can grow a Katniss plant in your garden by either planting seeds directly into the soil or in a pot with dirt and standing water. You can also grow a Katniss plant with divisions that are best planted in spring or fall.

What do flowers symbolize in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins?

Different flowers symbolize different things in The Hunger Games. For instance, Primroses represent healing (from trauma, pay injuries, and so on) as well as growth, while white roses represent power and control.

How should Katniss have looked? 

In the books, Katniss is described as having olive skin, dark hair, and gray eyes. She is also skinny as a result of the shortage of food in District 12.

What does the Katniss plant represent? 

The Katniss plant represents hardiness and survival. The Katniss plant is edible, nutritious, and abundantly available near water sources, making it an excellent source of nutrition for starving district residents like Katniss and her family. This aquatic plant is also referred to as ‘arrowhead’, symbolizing Katniss’ skill as an archer.

What does a Katniss flower look like?

The Katniss flower is a tiny flower found on the edible Katniss plant, also known as the arrowhead plant. The flower has three small petals, while the leaves of the Katniss plant resemble arrowheads. The plant itself grows tall. 

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