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Polygonum bistorta - L.
                 
Common Name Bistort, Meadow bistort, Snakeweed
Family Polygonaceae
USDA hardiness 4-7
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 Damp meadows and by water, especially on acid soils[13, 17].
Range Northern and central Europe, including Britain, mountains of S. Europe, western and central Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Bloom Color: Pink. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring. UPDATE 6/01/2012: Polygonum bistorta L. is a synonym of Persicaria bistorta (L.) Samp. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Rounded.

Polygonum bistorta Bistort, Meadow bistort, Snakeweed


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:279_Polygonum_bistorta_L.jpg
Polygonum bistorta Bistort, Meadow bistort, Snakeweed
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:%CE%A364
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Polygonum bistorta is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Synonyms
Persicaria bistorta, Bistorta officinalis

Habitats
 Meadow; Bog Garden; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 7, 9, 103]. One report says that they are rather bitter[5], but we have found them to have a fairly mild flavour, especially when the leaves are young, though the texture is somewhat chewy when they are eaten raw[7, K]. They make an excellent substitute for spinach[183]. In Northern England the leaves are an ingredient of a bitter Lenten pudding, called Easter ledger pudding, that is eaten at Lent[183]. The leaves are available from late winter in most years and can be eaten until the early autumn though they become much tougher as the season progresses[K]. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C[257], a nutritional analysis is available[218]. Seed - raw or cooked[172]. The seed is very small and rather fiddly to utilize[K]. Root - raw or cooked[7, 172, 257]. Rich in starch and tannin, it is steeped in water and then roasted in order to reduce the tannin content[4, 115]. It is then said to be a tasty and nutritious food[4]. The root has also been boiled or used in soups and stews[183] and can be dried then ground into a powder and used in making bread[4]. The root contains 30% starch, 1% calcium oxalate and 15 - 36% tannin[218].
Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 82.6%
  • Protein: 3g; Fat: 0.8g; Carbohydrate: 7.9g; Fibre: 3.2g; Ash: 2.4g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:
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.

Antidiarrhoeal;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Laxative;  Styptic.

Bistort is one of the most strongly astringent of all herbs and it is used to contract tissues and staunch blood flow[254]. The root is powerfully astringent, demulcent, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and strongly styptic[4, 218]. It is gathered in early spring when the leaves are just beginning to shoot, and then dried[4]. It is much used, both internally and externally, in the treatment of internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera etc[4, 9, 13, 21, 147, 165, 172]. It is also taken internally in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including catarrh, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis and excessive menstruation[238, 254]. Externally, it makes a good wash for small burns and wounds, and is used to treat pharyngitis, stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissure etc[238, 254]. A mouth wash or gargle is used to treat spongy gums, mouth ulcers and sore throats[254]. The leaves are astringent and have a great reputation in the treatment of wounds[4]. In Chinese medicine the rhizome is used for: epilepsy, fever, tetanus, carbuncles, snake and mosquito bites, scrofula and cramps in hands and feet [301]. Considered useful in diabetes [301].
Other Uses
Tannin.

The roots contain up to 21% tannin[223].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Container, Ground cover. Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[200]. The plant repays generous treatment[1]. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -25°c[187]. Bistort was formerly cultivated as a medicinal and edible plant[4], though it has now fallen into virtual disuse. Plants are somewhat spreading, forming quite extensive colonies[187] especially in low-lying pastures[4]. They seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Not North American native, Invasive, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.
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
Found In
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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Polygonum alaskanumAlaska Wild Rhubarb21
Polygonum alpinumAlpine Knotweed, Alaska wild rhubarb21
Polygonum amphibiumWillow Grass, Water knotweed, Longroot smartweed, Water smartweed12
Polygonum arenastrumSmall-Leaved Knotweed, Oval-leaf knotweed23
Polygonum aviculareKnotweed, Prostrate knotweed23
Polygonum barbatumJoint Weed11
Polygonum bistortoidesAmerican Bistort31
Polygonum bungeanumBunge's smartweed10
Polygonum coccineumWater Smartweed10
Polygonum conspicuum 10
Polygonum convolvulusBlack Bindweed10
Polygonum divaricatum 10
Polygonum douglasiiKnotweed, Douglas' knotweed, Austin knotweed, Engelmann's knotweed, Johnston's knotweed, Large kno20
Polygonum dumetorumClimbing false buckwheat11
Polygonum equisetiforme 10
Polygonum fugax 30
Polygonum hydropiperSmartweed, Marshpepper knotweed22
Polygonum japonicumJapanese Knotweed, Mexican Bamboo, Japanese Knotweed33
Polygonum lapathifoliumCurlytop Knotweed11
Polygonum limosum 10
Polygonum longisetumOriental lady's thumb10
Polygonum maackianum 10
Polygonum manshurienseAsian Bistort01
Polygonum microcephalum 10
Polygonum minusPygmy smartweed10
Polygonum molle 21
Polygonum multiflorumHe Shou Wu, Tuber fleeceflower23
Polygonum nepalenseNepalese smartweed11
Polygonum orientalePrince's Feather, Kiss me over the garden gate22
12
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Expert comment
 
Author
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Botanical References
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Links / References
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Subject : Polygonum bistorta  

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