Label the bag with the plant name and which animals it should be used for. The very tiny, pale green foliage is often heart-shaped. This very floriferous plant is covered with scented flowers that open in dense clusters for several weeks during late Summer. Keep stored seed in an airtight glass or metal container in a cool, dark place. Once you are just down to stem and flowers, rub handfuls of the material to dislodge the seeds from the flower seed head. On the latter, they arise in the leaf axils while those of the former appear in terminal clusters. The plant has naturalized in some states, including Alaska, Washington, Montana, Oregon, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, New England, and from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. Identifying to the species level often involves examination of the style of papery sheath at the joint (node) of leaf and stem. Many members of this genus are, in fact, garden-worthy plants. The two plants share similarities but have distinct differences. The first time I collected, I collected the pale smartweed which had relatively large flower clusters. Reaching six feet in height, this has dotted stems with yellow glands. 2014. Replied June 12, 2017, 2:25 PM EDT. Pennsylvania smartweed (P. pensylvanicum) is one which grows well on rich, well drained soils and so is a weed problem in crops. Longroot smartweed (Polygonum amphibium) : Pale smartweed is a widespread native of North America. The USDA Plants Database lists 80 species of Polygonum in the United States. This wild grain is an important food source for wildlife, but it becomes a noxious weed when it gets into garden plots and lawns.. What is Smartweed? When I find a stand of mature smartweed in bloom, I grab handfuls of the upper portion of the stem and cut the flower cluster stems with scissors and toss it in a bucket, trying to avoid the leaves as much as possible. First, jar the seeds up using a desiccant for up to 1 week. Since there is loads of smartweed around, I would like to be able to determine which are the natives, which are not, and pass that knowledge on to others. For the most part, these are generally found in bottomlands, low woods, moist spots, and fields. Pennsylvania smartweed. Bees are particularly fond of the flowers although the plants generally aren’t known for yielding large honey surpluses. Found in all of the lower 48 states in damp places and gardens, this annual was introduced from Europe. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc). The foliage features clear glands. Sometimes called dotted smartweed, this species is found in all of the lower 48 states except Nevada and Utah. The calyx, which is dotted with glands, is usually white with green but is occasionally rose. * Pale Smartweed (Persicaria lapathifolium) - Doesn't have the purplish leaf blotch and same ocrea found on Lady's Thumb. This species is an especially good bee plant, particularly in the East. Smartweed (also known as knotweed) is the common name given to a whole genus of plants, Polygonum, which translates as "many knees." There are a lot of plants in these two genera, so for this monograph I only listed the Virginia Persicaria species. The plants are called smartweed because they have a sharp, peppery flavor and their plant juice makes one’s eyes run. Well liked by bees, the blossoms provide bee forage when little else is available. The blossoms are usually pink or rose, but are sometimes white. Ladysthumb / Smartweed. It is possible to find smartweeds and knotweeds in both Persicaria and Polygonum genera. It is found in all states except Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alabama, and Florida. Knotweed is named for the sheath that encircles the nodes on the stems. If you intend to keep the seed longer than one year, jar up the seeds in two stages. Polygonum spp. There is generally an average of 20 pounds per colony. This species can produce a small honey surplus. The shape varies widely from linear to lanceolate or elliptic. Unroll and transfer the damp greens to storage. Polygonaceae (Buckwheat or Smartweed Family). Underside is shiny and topside has fine, shiny hairs you can see if you look closely on a sunny day. The plant is long-flowering and an early flower and a mature flower look almost the same. There is also a perennial smartweed, swamp smartweed (P. amphimbium L.). Seed/ Fruit Size: If you rub off the pink papery seed cover, you discover the very small, black and shiny seed, 5/64 inch (2 mm) long. Ladysthumb (Lady’s Thumb) or Smartweed . It spreads mostly by rhizomes, which can be over 40 feet in length. Opening during late Summer and Fall, these appear on nodding spikes. Tending to granulate easily, this can be white, pink, or various shades of amber. Pennsylvania smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) One particular variety (Polygonum lapathifolium var. The foliage can be rough on both surfaces and quite hairy. About 39 species are found in the U.S. with around half of those occurring in the Great Plains. Douglas, S.M. Water smartweed blooms from July through October. 2015. Persicaria punctata - Dotted Smartweed, Dotted Knotweed, Water Smartweed. Copyrighted data used with permission. Other Persicaria species exist in Virginia, but the flowers look a little different. Giant knotweed is quite similar to common knotweed except this species is much taller and rather coarse looking. That said, a number of members of the Polygonum genus are also weeds. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Then check the seed for dryness, and if dry enough, remove the desiccant and immediately repack the seed into an airtight container. (Douglas, 2004). The white calyx can have a pink, white, or yellow border. Persicaria is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the knotweed family, Polygonaceae.Plants of the genus are known commonly as knotweeds: 436 or smartweeds. Phytochemistry Emerge in the spring and set seed in late summer/fall and die. Smartweed, Persicaria hydropiper, has a name that is deceiving. Then either hang the bundles in the bird enclosures, or set bundles up in durable dry vases for the birds to forage the seed off the stem. Overview Information Smartweed is an herb. The leaves are at least an inch in length although in a few cases they’re much larger. If viewed through a hand lens, you may see the surface of the seed has three gently rounded ridges running lengthwise. Variable in shape, the alternate leaves can be eight inches in length. The others, known as smartweed honey, are usually darker colored and stronger flavored. I do not think there is any particular reason to try to remove the pink chaff except to check that the seed inside is, in fact, mature. Stone, Katharine R. 2010. ; SMARTWEED FAMILY [Polygonaceae]) More than 30 species of weedy annual or perennial plants with very small flowers of 5 white to pink, petal-like sepals, growing in spikes or spikelike branches, or in the leaf axils. For more information, see References & Citations, © 2020 Wildfoods 4 Wildlife - Website by Clayton Hamshar, bright pink to pale pink/white flowerheads in small, tight vertical clusters that sometimes droop over slightly, leaves are three times as long as wide and gently taper to a rounded point. Stem by stem remove any dried leaves. One particular variety (Polygonum punctatum var. One of the best species for bees, this is a very good honey plant. The very variable plant is similar to lady’s thumb except for the flower color. Look closely at it and see if you still see the tiny flower with petals. American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. Do not use if greens become moldy, slimy or dried out. Lady’s thumb blooms from June through frost. This variable perennial is found in many areas of the country. Just to prove to yourself that the seed is mature, you can roll the seeds in your fingers to break off the plant chaff, revealing the dark, shiny seed within. One generally recognizable plant feature of smartweeds and knotweeds are the swollen joints (nodes) where the leaf meets the stem. The chemistry of water pepper smartweed and related species (new genus name is Persicaria = Polygonum) has been described in the following publication: Prota N, Mumm R, Bouwmeester HJ, Jongsma MA. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. & Tyrl, R.J., 2013), Some people develop a skin sensitivity from contact with smartweed leaf—so beware if you are wading into a stand of smartweed in shorts for the first time until you know if you are sensitive. Reaching 10 feet in height, this plant features erect, stout, smooth, hollow, jointed, grayish, mottled stems that resemble bamboo. I’ve also included pictures of the native Jumpseed (Persicaria virginiana) here because it is so easily recognizable, but it does not have the same pink flower clusters like all the others listed above. I doubled my search efforts. The rhizomes are white and thin; hence this weed is often called "shoestring". (Accessed November 2015). Available: [2017, January 17]. Once cleaned and fully dried, choose a low humidity day—not a rainy day—to jar up your seed. If you have access to it, you can include these seeds in with your smartweed seed mix. a relative of plants such as buckwheat, smartweed, and the Noxious Weed mile-a-minute vine. Reaching three feet in height, this has forked or branched, erect, reddish stems that are swollen at the base. Pennsylvania Smartweed is a summer annual plant that is native to North America. The above-ground parts are used to make medicine. Giant knotweed and Japanese knotweed both arrived in Europe and the UK as exotic Asiatic plants to be used in fashionable gardens. Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) and closely related lady's thumb (P. persicaria) are a shade gardener's worst nightmare, because they grow best in moist partial shade.Found throughout North America, these native annuals produce thousands of hard-coated seeds. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Some people put smartweed directly on the skin to wash bloody wounds. General Description In addition to using the identification guide of your choice, here are a couple of features you should see on this plant: Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), Black bindweed (Polygonum convolvulus),  Prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare) have all cause livestock deaths as a green forage, possibly unrelated to nitrate poisoning. Bolander’s knotweed is intolerant of salt. An annual or perennial, this arises from tough rootstocks. (Unpublished Report) Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. The Latin genus name refers to the swollen nodes on the jointed, slightly angled stems. Retrieved: readers supply the date, from As nouns the difference between knotweed and smartweed is that knotweed is any of several plants of the genus polygonum , with jointed stems and inconspicuous flowers while smartweed is any of more than a dozen species of the genus polygonum . U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). incarnatum) is known to be a source of honey in some regions. smartweed and knotweed (Polygonum spp. Canning jars and lids work well. Generally alternate, the leaves, which grow to six inches in length and feature scalloped edges, can vary in shape. People take smartweed tea to stop bleeding from hemorrhoids, as well as menstrual bleeding and other uterine bleeding.They also use it to treat diarrhea.. Smartweed seeds are heavily consumed by ducks, small birds, and small mammals. It grows in swamps, low ground, wet places, moist meadows, and along shores. Polygonum sachalinense, P. cuspidatum, P. × bohemicum. The PLANTS Database (, 6 November 2015). You can test a sample. Try creating a bundle of flower stems, tie and hang upside down to dry for 1-2 weeks indoors. For that reason in the database I lump those two together interchangeably under Polygonum. Its preferred habitats are rocky, open areas, especially stony outcroppings. Giant Knotweed (Polygonum sachalinense) The blossoms open on spikes that contain a number of panicles. The entire plant is used to make medicine. Sometimes called pinkweed, this species is found in all states except Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, and Washington. Peterson, L.A.(1977). Leaves can cause contact dermatitis in humans. Plants occasionally grow to 4 feet tall, but even when mowed repeatedly smartweed often manages to produce flowers. For this writing, I collected bristly ladies-thumb which had smaller clusters and was more work for less result. Leaf Description: Leaves are a dark green, entire. Pennsylvania Smartweed and Ladythumb (Polygonum pensylvanicum L. and P. persicaria L.) Life cycle: Summer annuals. Refrigeration and freezing works well, but allow container to warm to room temperature before opening. Our specialist responds: "Polygonum persicaria. If the greens will be used quickly within days, place the spun-and-towel-rolled damp greens to a 1 gallon zip-lock baggie with 12-15 holes cut in it to provide air and keep the greens from molding (or reuse commercial grape bags with holes). The family Polygonaceae has recently undergone a lot of re-classifications taxonomically. There are several varieties of this annual. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants if Eastern and Central North America. My heart started pounding, "Smartweed," I said, "we are lookin' for smartweed?" Some are suited to wet spots, while others prefer dry, rocky, or gravelly soils. Green or tan seeds? They’re major bee plants in the West, Southwest, Plains, and the Southeast. Persicaria (Smartweed Genus) AND. Burrows, G.E., Tyrl, R.J. (2013) Toxic Plants of North America, 2nd Edition, Oxford, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Martin, A.C., Zim, H.S., Nelson, A.L. The greenish blossoms open from July through September, depending on location, in crowded short clusters from the leaf axils. Anonymous Guest. greens can accumulate nitrates and can cause photosensitization. Family: Buckwheat or Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae) Available: [2017, January 17]. The shape varies widely from linear to lanceolate or elliptic. The honey can vary considerably, according to the location, weather, soil, and plant species. More numerous on the upper part of the plant, they open terminally in six-inch-long terminal clusters or in racemes from the leaf axils. Available: [ 2017, January 17]. Location: Found in a variety of places; Most species like wet habitats, including roadsides and ditches . Valerie Clingerman, Purdue Extension Knox County ANR Educator, demonstrates the identifying characteristics of smartweeds. The calyx is generally pink but can also be purple, green, or white. It has a cosmopolitan distribution, with species occurring nearly worldwide. The firm, dark green, lance-oblong to broadly lanceolate foliage is over an inch wide and nearly 5½ inches long. Stone, Katharine R. 2010. In California, it has been known to yield a lower quality honey that is darker in color. The colorful part of the blossom is the perianth, which is often pink or red. Usually shrubby, Japanese knotweed is a vigorous plant that forms dense colonies. It occurs in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Stems and leaves can be offered to animals, though the greens taste somewhat spicy more like mustard, so animals may not eat greens in great quantity. Many of these species have the same general “look” of the pink to white wand-like flower clusters you will come to recognize. Polygonum is a genus of about 130 species of flowering plant in the buckwheat and knotweed family Polygonaceae.Common names include knotweed and knotgrass (though the common names may refer more broadly to plants from Polygonaceae).In the Middle English glossary of herbs Alphita (c. 1400–1425), it was known as ars-smerte. They bloom at the same time as other smartweed flowers, around August where I live, and are ready for harvest in September. The blossoms emerge on terminal flower panicles that contain a number of crowded flower spikes, up to two inches long, which are usually interrupted on the lower portion. The seeds of smartweed do adhere to the stem fairly well. It is known as dotted smartweed. Knotweed is a highly successful invader of wetlands, stream corridors, forest edges, and drainage ditches across the country. Water Smartweed (Polygonym punctatum) greens can also cause photosensitization (Burrows, G.E. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. The stems are jointed, with a membranous sheath above each joint. Also called silver lace vine, this bee plant is closely related to the smartweeds and knotweeds. The seeds or fruits are also eaten. Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. The leaves are covered with dotted glands, which can be clear or colored. Other common names include spotted lady's thumb and redshank. Virginia Botanical Associates. Keep container in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. North Dakota State University. Label the airtight container with the seed name, date of harvest and which animals it should be used for. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. Does this lend itself as an enrichment item? The various smartweeds and knotweeds are found throughout the world. Initially, the aroma can be slightly unpleasant, but it mellows with time. It occurs most frequently in moist and wet soils. During the Spring, the young shoots can be cooked as a vegetable. Hood. Keep container in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. No seeds? A number of water smartweed varieties occur in some areas. Although the plant is less common than some knotweeds, it is considered a reliable bee plant. Rinse in clean water. The flavor is influenced by the weather and soil conditions. Grasp the stem in your hand and strip off the seed. If you choose to collect it at all. Submerge the plant material and swish it around to remove all dirt from leaves and roots. Leaves are three times as long as wide and gently taper to a rounded point. Some of the introduced ones have naturalized and become quite invasive. Resembling those of peach trees, the sticky, slightly rough leaves are easily identified by a dark blotch, which was once described as resembling a lady’s thumb print, in the center of the leaf. Polygonum cuspidatum), an herbaceous perennial member of the buckwheat family, was introduced from East Asia in the late 1800s as an ornamental and to stabilize streambanks. These, too, can be used as birdseed, if you know them and have access to these other plants. The terrestrial forms are typically found along shores, swamps, prairies, meadows, ditches, and harbors. But for plants that are more susceptible accumulating nitrates, drought, reduced sunlight, excessive soil nitrogen from excess fertilization can over-accumulate nitrates  because the plant is not growing and utilizing the nitrogen it has absorbed. Either alternate or opposite, the thick, shiny leaves, six inches in length, can be hairy. The tender, young leaves and stems are eaten raw or cooked. Refrigeration and freezing work well. When you find smartweed, you often find them in stands, not as a solitary flower. Impacts: Can invade rice fields, pastures, orchards, and irrigated crops; stands of emergent plants can impede the flow of water in irrigation ditches, canals, and drainage areas.

smartweed vs knotweed

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