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Polygonum bistortoides - Pursh.

Common Name American Bistort
Family Polygonaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats Moist or wet meadows and swamps, seldom below 2500 metres[43, 85].
Range Western N. America - Canada to California.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Polygonum bistortoides American Bistort


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Polygonum bistortoides American Bistort
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Polygonum bistortoides is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Bistorta bistortoides. (Pursh.)Small.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Bog Garden; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root  Seed
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A pleasant acid flavour, they are used as a potherb[183]. Root - raw or cooked[106]. Starchy and rather pleasant[85], the root can be baked or added to soups, stews etc[105, 161, 183, 257]. It was often dried before being used[207]. The raw root is slightly astringent, it becomes sweeter when boiled but is best when baked[212]. Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Poultice

The root is astringent. A poultice has been used in treating sores and boils[257].

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Food Forest

Cultivation details

Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[200]. Repays generous treatment[1]. Plants are growing well at Kew in a moist position by water in the rock garden[K]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. This species is closely related to P. viviparum[1] and P. bistorta[200]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Polygonum alaskanumAlaska Wild RhubarbPerennial1.8 -  LMHSNM21 
Polygonum alpinumAlpine Knotweed, Alaska wild rhubarbPerennial1.0 4-8  LMHSNM21 
Polygonum amphibiumWillow Grass, Water knotweed, Longroot smartweed, Water smartweedPerennial0.3 4-8  LMHSNWeWa120
Polygonum arenastrumSmall-Leaved Knotweed, Oval-leaf knotweedAnnual0.3 4-8  LMHSNM230
Polygonum aviculareKnotweed, Prostrate knotweedAnnual0.3 4-8  LMHSNM230
Polygonum barbatumJoint WeedPerennial0.8 -  LMHSNM11 
Polygonum bistortaBistort, Meadow bistort, SnakeweedPerennial0.5 4-7 FLMHSNMWe332
Polygonum bungeanumBunge's smartweedAnnual0.8 0-0  LMHSNM10 
Polygonum coccineumWater SmartweedPerennial0.5 4-8  LMHSNWeWa10 
Polygonum conspicuum Perennial0.6 -  LMHSNM10 
Polygonum convolvulusBlack BindweedAnnual1.2 0-0  LMHSNM100
Polygonum divaricatum Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNDM10 
Polygonum douglasiiKnotweed, Douglas' knotweed, Austin knotweed, Engelmann's knotweed, Johnston's knotweed, Large knoAnnual0.3 0-0  LMHSNDM20 
Polygonum dumetorumClimbing false buckwheatAnnual1.8 0-0  LMHSNM11 
Polygonum equisetiforme Perennial1.0 7-10  LMHNDM10 
Polygonum fugax Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM30 
Polygonum hydropiperSmartweed, Marshpepper knotweedAnnual0.8 0-0  LMHNWeWa22 
Polygonum japonicumJapanese Knotweed, Mexican Bamboo, Japanese KnotweedPerennial3.0 4-10 FLMHSNM330
Polygonum lapathifoliumCurlytop KnotweedAnnual0.8 4-8  LMHSNMWe110
Polygonum limosum Perennial1.8 -  LMHSNM10 
Polygonum longisetumOriental lady's thumbAnnual0.5 0-0  LMHSNMWe10 
Polygonum maackianum Annual0.8 -  LMHSNMWe10 
Polygonum manshurienseAsian BistortPerennial0.8 -  LMHSNMwe01 
Polygonum microcephalum Perennial0.5 -  LMHSNM10 
Polygonum minusPygmy smartweedAnnual0.3 0-0  LMHSNMWe10 
Polygonum molle Perennial2.5 6-9 FLMHSNM21 
Polygonum multiflorumHe Shou Wu, Tuber fleeceflowerPerennial Climber4.5 6-9  LMHSNM23 
Polygonum nepalenseNepalese smartweedAnnual0.3 0-0  LMHSNMWe11 
Polygonum orientalePrince's Feather, Kiss me over the garden gateAnnual1.5 0-0  LMHSNM220
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Subject : Polygonum bistortoides  
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