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Smartweed Plant

Smartweed Plant

Smartweed Plant

A plant from east Asia, called a smartweed plant, has the coveted effect of preventing headaches by the time it blooms around the first week of July. It emerges from the soil with a white heart and simple blooms. Once July passes, bladders of red flowers form — until the plant enters its winter sleep. In the fall, berries blush as the plant prepares again to grow.Pennsylvania smartweed is a member of the Polygonaceae (Smartweed) family. The smartweed family includes about 900 species that range from annual herbs to perennial trees. The family includes buckwheat, dock, and rhubarb. The genus Polygonum typically has simple leaves which often have dark blotches on them. Flowers do not have petals but have sepals that mimic petals. In some manuals, Pennsylvania smartweed is called Persicaria pensylvanica (L.) M. Gómez.

Smartweed

Swamp Smartweed, Polygonum amphibium, is one of the showier pink species in the group. Look for it growing in ponds and marshes. The leaves are broad, large, and leathery in appearance. Leaves often have a glossy look. This and many other smartweeds are important foods for waterfowl. Both of these were shot in the same place, but the second picture was a plant growing on the edge, not in the water. Though variable, edge plants often show a more elongated flower head, and less shiny leaves than those directly in the water.

Oriental Ladysthumb, Polygonum cespitosum (Persicaria longiseta), is another introduced species. What usually catches my eye is the bright pinkish red color. Flowers may look full and compact, or small and loosely spreading. It's sometimes called Tufted Smartweed, but I prefer the common name Long-bristled Smartweed.This smartweed grows in a few inches of water and thrives in areas where water recedes in late spring. Smartweed readily reseeds year after year and produces a huge amount of seed which waterfowl love when flooded. It grows best in marshy ground and does not like droughty hard ground or water that is too deep. It can be grown with overhead or flood irrigation. If flooded, the water should be drawn off quickly. The larger the plants, the longer the water may stay on. (Source: www.riverrefugeseed.com)

 

 

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