Persicaria pensylvanica is a morphologically variable allotetraploid, with P. lapathifolia probably one of the parents (L. L. Consaul et al. 1991). Three or four varieties (under Polygonum) often have been accepted in North American floras; the characters on which these are based vary greatly within and among populations. J. W. Taylor-Lehman (1987) concluded that Polygonum pensylvanicum is best treated as a polymorphic species without infraspecific taxa, based on specimens primarily from Ohio. The heterostylous Persicaria bicornis often is included in P. pensylvanica. A single chromosome count of 2n = 22 reported by Á. Löve and D. Löve (1982), which could not be confirmed by Consaul et al. because the voucher could not be found, is excluded. Flowers with three styles and trigonous achenes are produced; they are exceedingly rare and probably mostly overlooked. Several Native American tribes prepared infusions and decoctions from P. pensylvanica, which they used as drugs for humans and horses (D. E. Moerman 1998).