This species is better known in the literature as Polygonum perfoliatum[
Ampelogonum perfoliatum Roberty & Vautier
Ampelygonum perfoliatum (L.) Roberty & Vautier
Chylocalyx perfoliatus (L.) Hassk. ex Miq.
Echinocaulon perfoliatum (L.) Meisn. ex Hassk.
Fagopyrum perfoliatum (L.) Raf.
Polygonum arifolium perfoliatum L.
Polygonum perfoliatum (L.) L.
Tracaulon perfoliatum (L.) Greene
Truellum perfoliatum (L.) Soják
Plant climbing through other vegetation
Photograph by: Dalgial
Persicaria perfoliata is an annual to perennial plant with trailing stems growing 80 - 200cm long[
]. The stems have recurved barbs, which allow it to clamber over other plants to reach the light[
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use as a food and medicine.
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[
E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea..
Wet thickets and by rivers in lowland all over Japan[
]. Open and disturbed areas, along the edges of woods, wetlands, stream banks and roadsides. It also occurs in environments that are extremely wet with poor soil structure[
A plant of the warm temperate to tropical zones.
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[
] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[
]. Repays generous treatment[
]. It can survive in areas with relatively low soil moisture, but demonstrates a preference for high soil moisture413].
The plant invades a wide range of habitats. It has been found on stream banks, moist thickets, roadsides, nurseries, wood-piles, clearings and ditches in the U.S.A, thriving where forests are clear-cut[
]. Available light and soil moisture are both integral to the successful colonization of this species. It will tolerate shade for a part of the day but needs a good percentage (63-100%) of the available light. It can reach areas of higher light intensity by attaching to and climbing over other plants with its recurved barbs[
]. It grows rapidly, scrambling over shrubs and other vegetation, blocking the foliage of covered plants from available light and reducing their ability to photosynthesize, which stresses and weakens them. If left unchecked, the shaded plants are killed, and large infestations eventually reduce native plant species in natural areas[
]. The plant is a threat to ecosystems as it has the ability to outgrow other species[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Tender young leaves and shoots - raw or cooked. An acid flavour[
]. Used as a vegetable[
]. Cooked with other greens and eaten as a side dish with rice[
Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize. The ripe fruits (seeds) are eaten fresh, especially by children[
The whole plant is depurative, diuretic and febrifuge. It is also used to stimulate blood circulation[
]. A decoction is used in the treatment of dysentery, enteritis, boils and abscesses, poisonous snake bites, haematuria, cloudy urine and traumatic injuries[
The juice of the leaves is used in the treatment of backaches[
Seed - sow in situ. Germination is usually free and easy.
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