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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This perennial plant is about 2-3' long and erect to sprawling; it branches occasionally. The light green stems are terete and hairless. The lower stems of individual plants are often decumbent along the ground; rootlets often develop at the nodes of these decumbent stems where the sheaths occur. The alternate leaves are up to 7" long and ¾" across, becoming smaller along the upper stems; mature leaves are spaced about ½–2" apart along each stem. They are green to dark green, oblong-lanceolate, smooth along the margins, and hairless or mostly hairless. Sometimes the leaf margins are slightly ciliate. The petioles of the leaves are short and slender. At the bases of petioles, there are membranous sheaths (ocreae) that wrap around the stems. These ring-like sheaths often have lines of short appressed hairs, while the upper rims of these sheaths usually lack bristles (when such bristles are present, they are less than 1 mm. in length). Each upper stem often terminates into 1-3 narrow racemes of flowers. Each raceme is up to 6" long and ascending to erect; the flowers and their buds are distributed somewhat sparsely along its length. Each flower is up to 1/8" across, consisting of 5 tepals, 8 stamens, and a tripartite style. The tepals are white or light pink and they lack glandular dots. Usually, only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time on a raceme. At the bases of flowers, there are small sheaths (ocreoleae); these sheaths have relatively few bristles (less than 1 mm. in length) along their upper rims, or none. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall and lasts about 1–1½ months. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by shiny black seeds (one seed per flower) that are ovoid and bluntly 3-angled. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. Clonal colonies of plants are often formed from the rhizomes and/or rootlets of decumbent stems.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum foliosum var. paludicola (Makino) Kitam.:
Japan (Asia)
Russian Federation (Asia)
China (Asia)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Persicaria paludicola Small:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum persicarioides Kunth:
Belize (Mesoamerica)
Bolivia (South America)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Persicaria hydropiperoides var. opelousana (Riddell ex Small) J.S. Wilson:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. adenocalyx (Stanford) Gleason:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Choripetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 2. 655 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1704 External link.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. opelousanum (Riddell ex Small) W. Stone:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum opelousanum var. adenocalyx Stanford:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. breviciliatum Fernald:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides fo. hydropiperoides :
United States (North America)
Canada (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. psilostachyum H. St. John:
Canada (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. hydropiperoides :
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. digitatum Fernald:
Canada (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. bushianum Stanford:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides var. asperifolium Stanford:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides fo. strigosum (Small) Stanford:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
  • Gleason, H. A. 1968. The Choripetalous Dicotyledoneae. vol. 2. 655 pp. In H. A. Gleason Ill. Fl. N. U.S. (ed. 3). New York Botanical Garden, New York.   http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1704 External link.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Persicaria hydropiperoides (Michx.) Small:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum hydropiperoides Michx.:
Argentina (South America)
Canada (North America)
Chile (South America)
Costa Rica (Mesoamerica)
Ecuador (South America)
El Salvador (Mesoamerica)
French Guiana (South America)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)
Guyana (South America)
Honduras (Mesoamerica)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
Panama (Mesoamerica)
Peru (South America)
Suriname (South America)
United States (North America)
Brazil (South America)
Bolivia (South America)
Colombia (South America)
Nicaragua (Mesoamerica)
Venezuela (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Polygonum mite Schrank:
Madagascar (Africa & Madagascar)
Chile (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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B.C., N.B., N.S., Ont., Que.; Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis.; Mexico; Central America; South America.
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Africa, Europe, W. Asia, Himalaya, Tibet, east to China and Japan, N. America.
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Distribution: Himalayas, Europe, N. W. Africa, temperate Asia and North America.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Elevation Range

500 m
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Description

Erect to suberect, 35-60 cm tall, branched, annual herb. Stem branched from base or above, glabrous. Leaves 2-8.0 x 0.3-2.0 cm, shortly petioled, linear lanceolate, acute, margin, veins and midrib ciliate, sparsely reddish glandular below. Ochreae 1.0-1.5 cm long, tubular, ciliate, ± appressed hirsute, cilia at the mouth of the tube almost equalling the ochreae. Inflorescence, 1-5 cm long, slender, terminal to axillary, often drooping raceme. Flowers 1.5-2.5 mm across, pedicel 0.5-1 mm long. Ochreolae 1.0-2.0 mm long, tubular, reddish-purplish, ciliate-aristate, ciliae or aristae 1-2 mm long. Tepals 5, 1.25-2.5 x 0.5-1.5 cm, oblanceolate, obtuse, biseriate, unequal, pink. Stamens 8, filaments long, inserted below middle, equal. Ovary small, lanceolate, trigonous, with three styles, free in the upper half, stigmas capitate. Nuts biconvex to appressed, 1.5-3.0 x 0.5-1.5 mm, dark brown to almost black, glabrous, lustrous.
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Description

Plants perennial, 1.5-10 dm; roots also often arising from proximal nodes; rhizomes often present. Stems decumbent to ascending, usually branched, without noticeable ribs, glabrous or obscurely strigose distally. Leaves: ocrea brown, cylindric, 5-23 mm, chartaceous, base inflated, margins truncate, ciliate with bristles (2-)4-10 mm, surface glabrous or strigose, not glandular-punctate; petiole 0.2-2 cm, glabrous or strigose; blade without dark triangular or lunate blotch adaxially, broadly lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 5-25 × 0.4-3.7 cm, base tapered or acute, margins antrorsely appressed-pubescent, apex acuminate, faces glabrous or appressed-pubescent along midveins and sometimes on faces, usually punctate abaxially. Inflorescences terminal, sometimes also axillary, erect, uninterrupted or interrupted proximally, 30-80 × 2-5 mm; peduncle 10-30 mm, glabrous or strigose; ocreolae overlapping distally, often not overlapping proximally, margins ciliate with bristles to 2(-3) mm. Pedicels ascending, 1-1.5 mm. Flowers bisexual or unisexual and staminate, 2-6 per ocreate fascicle, homostylous; perianth roseate proximally, roseate, white, or greenish white distally, not glandular-punctate or sometimes glandular-punctate with punctae on tubes and inner tepals, scarcely accrescent; tepals 5, connate ca. 1/ 1/ 2 their length, obovate, 2.5-4 mm in bisexual flowers, 1.5-2.5 mm in staminate flowers, veins prominent or not, not anchor-shaped, margins entire, apex obtuse to rounded; stamens 8, included or exserted in staminate flowers; anthers pink or red, elliptic to ovate; styles 3, connate near middle. Achenes included or apex exserted, brown to brownish black or black, 3-gonous, 1.5-3 × 1-2.3 mm, shiny, smooth.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Polygonum mite Schrank, Baier. Fl. 668. 1789; D.A.Webb & Chater in Tutin et al., Fl. Europ. 1: 79. 1964; Schiman-Czeika & Rech.f. in Rech.f., Fl. Iran. 56: 61. 1968; R. R. Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 211. 1972; P. hydropiper L. var. eglandulosa Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 39. 1886; Persicaria hydropiper subsp. mite (Schrank) A. Majeed & Kak in J. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. 517. 1984; Persicaria hydropiper subsp. mite (Schrank) Munshi et Javeid, l.c. 75. 1986. comb. illegit.
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Synonym

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Type Information

Isotype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. sanibelense Stanford
Catalog Number: US 442202
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. M. Tracy
Year Collected: 1901
Locality: Lee, Sanibel Island, Florida, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Stanford, E. E. 1926. Rhodora. 28: 27.
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Isotype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. euronotorum Fernald
Catalog Number: US 2003514
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald
Year Collected: 1944
Locality: Shore of Whitefield's millpond, NE of Corinth., Southampton, Virginia, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Fernald, M. L. 1945. Rhodora. 47: 137.
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Syntype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. strigosum Small
Catalog Number: US 797399
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. Donnell Smith
Year Collected: 1878
Locality: Cheat River, Preston Co., W. Va., Preston, West Virginia, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Small, J. K. 1892. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 19: 355.
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Isotype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. breviciliatum Fernald
Catalog Number: US 1810307
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald & B. H. Long
Year Collected: 1938
Locality: Burgess Station., Dinwiddie, Virginia, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Fernald, M. L. 1940. Rhodora. 42: 448.
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Isotype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. bushianum Stanford
Catalog Number: US 217356
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): B. F. Bush
Year Collected: 1894
Locality: Sapulpa., Oklahoma, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Stanford, E. E. 1926. Rhodora. 28: 27.
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Isolectotype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. digitatum Fernald
Catalog Number: US 1104260
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: ; Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald & D. Linder
Year Collected: 1920
Locality: Yarmouth County, boggy savannah bordering St. John Lake, Springhaven., Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, North America
  • Isolectotype: Fernald, M. L. 1922. Rhodora. 23: 260.; Reveal, J. L. & Atha, D. E. 2010. Brittonia. 62: 256.
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Isotype for Polygonum hydropiperoides var. psilostachyum H. St. John
Catalog Number: US 1104113
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. St. John
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Sable Island., Nova Scotia, Canada, North America
  • Isotype: St. John, H. 1921. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 36: 71.
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Ecology

Habitat

Wet banks and clearings, shallow water, marshes, moist prairies, ditches; 0-1500m.
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A fairly common species, grows between 2500-10000 ft in moist areas, along water channels. Very close to Persicaria hydropiper but differs by having eglandular perianth and often drooping spikes which are often terminal and cilia as long as the ochreal tube. Differs from P. tenella by having distinctly biconvex to appressed nuts and reddish glands on the leaves. Our plants differ from European and N.W.African specimens by having smaller flowers and smaller nuts and may represent a separate geographical race.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Mild Water Pepper in Illinois

Persicaria hydropiperoides (Mild Water Pepper)
(Insects suck nectar; some observations are from Krombein et al. and Fothergill & Vaughn as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis, Megachile mendica

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea, Halictus confusus, Halictus rubicunda, Lasioglossum coriaceus fq; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes americana fq, Colletes eulophi, Colletes latitarsis, Colletes simulans armata fq; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus mesillae; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena simplex (Kr), Andrena solidaginis

Wasps
Sphecidae (Astatinae): Astatus unicolor; Sphecidae (Craboninae): Anacrabro ocellatus, Crabro tumidus, Ectemnius rufipes, Ectemnius trifasciatus, Oxybelus emarginatus, Oxybelus uniglumis; Sphecidae (Larrinae): Ancistromma distincta fq, Tachytes aurulenta; Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Isodontia apicalis, Prionyx atrata, Prionyx thomae, Sceliphron caementaria, Sphex ichneumonea; Tiphiidae: Myzinum quinquecincta, Tiphia letalis; Philanthidae: Cerceris fumipennis, Cerceris kennicottii, Eucerceris zonata, Philanthus gibbosus, Philanthus ventilabris; Nyssonidae: Pseudoplisus phaleratus; Pompilidae: Anoplius lepidus, Ceropales maculata, Entypus fulvicornis, Episyron biguttatus, Poecilopompilus algidus, Poecilopompilus interrupta; Mutillidae: Dasymutilla macra; Chrysididae: Chrysis inaequidens, Chrysis nitidula, Hedychrum violaceum, Hedychrum wiltii, Holopyga ventrale; Vespidae: Polistes dorsalis, Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus antilope, Euodynerus annulatus

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis anthophorina, Eristalis flavipes, Pargagus tibialis, Syritta pipiens, Tropidia quadrata fq; Bombyliidae: Systoechus vulgaris; Conopidae: Physoconops brachyrhynchus; Tachinidae: Archytas analis, Chaetogaedia analis; Sarcophagidae: Blaesoxiphia hunteri, Helicobia rapax, Ravinia derelicta; Calliphoridae: Cochliomyia macellaria, Phormia regina; Muscidae: Bithoracochaeta leucoprocta, Neomyia cornicina

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Libytheana carinenta sn (FV), Limenitis arthemis astyanax sn (FV), Phyciodes tharos sn (FV); Lycaenidae: Calycopis cecrops sn (FV), Celastrina argiolus sn (FV), Strymon melinus sn (FV); Pieridae: Eurema lisa sn (FV)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Euphyes vestris sn (FV), Lerema accius sn (FV)

Beetles
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus; Chrysomelidae: Disonycha sp.; Coccinellidae: Coccinella novemnotata; Curculionidae: Listronotus caudatus

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Faunal Associations

The nectar of the flowers attracts various insects, including small bees, wasps, flies, and beetles. The caterpillars of the butterflies Lycaena helloides (Purplish Copper) and Lycaena hyllus (Bronze Copper) feed on Persicaria spp. (Smartweeds), as do the caterpillars of several moths (see the Moth Table for a listing of these species). The seeds of smartweeds are eaten by many ducks, rails, and granivorous songbirds (see the Bird Table for a listing of these species). Because the foliage of Mild Smartweed has little or no peppery flavor, it may be eaten by mammalian herbivores to a greater extent than the foliage of other smartweeds.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering Jun-Nov.
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Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: July-October.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Full or partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and muddy soil are preferred. Wet soil containing sand or gravel is also tolerated. This plant is often found in shallow water and it almost qualifies as an emergent-aquatic species. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Polygonum hydropiperoides

Polygonum hydropiperoides is a species of flowering plant in the knotweed family known by the common name swamp smartweed. It is native to much of North America where it grows in moist and wet habitats, and is sometimes semi-aquatic.

This plant species is quite variable and is sometimes divided into several varieties, some of which may be better treated as species in their own right.[1]

In general, this plant is a rhizomatous perennial herb growing upright or erect and approaching a maximum height of one meter. Roots may emerge from nodes on the lower stem. The bristly lance-shaped leaves are around 10 centimeters long. The leaves have sheathing stipules known as ochrea. The spikelike inflorescence produces many pinkish flowers each about 3 millimeters wide.

References

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Notes

Comments

The extreme variability in Persicaria hydropiperoides is reflected in its extensive synonymy. Among the segregates most often recognized in floras and checklists is P. opelousana, which C. B. McDonald (1980) showed to be broadly sympatric and highly interfertile with P. hydropiperoides. Consistent with this conclusion, R. S. Mitchell (1971) found that P. hydropiperoides and P. opelousana are unique among native North American smartweeds in consistently possessing multicellular plate-glands on the abaxial surface of their leaves. Such glands also are found on P. maculosa, an introduced European species.  

Herbarium specimens of Persicaria hydropiperoides sometimes are misidentified as P. maculosa, especially when the roots are missing. The former species may be distinguished reliably by its achenes all trigonous (trigonous and biconvex achenes are mixed in the inflorescences of P. maculosa) and bristles on the margins of the ocreae that average longer. M. L. Fernald (1922c) reported hybrids with P. robustior from Nova Scotia.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Treated as Persicaria hydropiperoides in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2005).

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