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My first experience with Persicaria virginiana began in 2017. Not that they haven’t always been somewhere here on the farm, I just hadn’t noticed them. I had probably been whacking them off with the trimmer. When this “different” plant came up next to the steps to the back porch I decided to let it remain so I could identify it. It turned out to be Persicaria virginiana commonly known as Virginia Jumpseed. It has a few other common names such as American Jumpseed, Virginia Knotweed, Woodland Knotweed, and maybe a few others I am not familiar with.
Faunal Associations: The nectar of the flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Halictid bees (including green metallic bees), Sphecid wasps, Eumenine wasps, and ants (Wilhelm & Rericha, 2017). The ants are nectar thieves and non-pollinating. Insects that feed destructively on the plant juices of Jumpseed (Antenoron virginianum) include the Dusky Stink Bug (Euschistus tristigmus) and a leafhopper (Erasmoneura nigra); see Rider (2009) and Dmitriev & Dietrich (2010). Many insects that feed on smartweeds (Persicaria spp.) and knotweeds (Polygonum spp.) probably feed on this plant too. The foliage of Jumpseed is rarely browsed by White-tailed Deer (Frankland & Nelson, 1999).Comments: Jumpseed (Antenoron virginianum) has a history of taxonomic instability – scientific synonyms include Polygonum virginianum, Persicaria virginiana, and Tovara virginiana. Sometimes this plant is referred to as Woodland Knotweed or Woodland Smartweed. It is relatively easy to distinguish this plant from the similar smartweeds (Persicaria spp.) because of its long spike-like racemes along which the flowers are sparsely distributed. Its flowers also have only 4 petaloid sepals, rather than the 5 petaloid sepals that are typical of true smartweeds. Jumpseed also has a strong preference for shaded habitats, while smartweeds are usually, but not always, found in sunny wetlands.
Range & Habitat: The native Jumpseed (Antenoron virginianum) is a common plant that occurs throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). This plant is widely distributed in the eastern one-half of the United States. Typical habitats include upland deciduous woodlands, lowland deciduous woodlands, woodland edges, thickets, and edges of gravelly seeps. This native plant tends to be more common in woodlands with a history of disturbance.ranching rhizomes and long fibrous roots. Current year’s stems grow from tips of dominant rhizomes, and new rhizomes extend from near the same tips. Older portions of the rhizomes remain viable. (Source: anps.org)