Herb, Shrub . F. japonica is a herbaceous perennial native to Japan. It has been introduced to Europe and North America as an ornamental . It is also used to stabilize soil, especially in coastal areas. It requires full sun and is found primarily in moist habitats but also grows in waste places, along roadways, and other disturbed areas. Once established , this species forms dense stands that shade and crowd out all other vegetation, displacing native flora and fauna , and the overwintering canes and leaves are slow to decompose. F. japonica is a popular ornamental worldwide, and is not generally recognised as a weed . In its native range, it is used extensively to obscure waste areas, garbage dumps etc. (Jennings and Fawcett 1980, in Doll and Doll, 1991). It is sometimes used in coastal areas to stabilise soil. The newly emerged shoots are said to be edible (Doll and Doll, 1998), and beekeepers plant it for its abundant nectar secretion (Locandro, 1978, in Doll and Doll, 1998). It leaves were used as a tobacco substitute during World War II.
- Japanese Knotweed is a commercial source of resveratrol supplements. Huzhang root extract is a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment. It is also known as He Shou Wu, and the prepared herb is used as a blood tonic .
- Japanese Knotweed is native to Eastern Asia. It was introduced to the United Kingdom from Japan as an ornamental in 1825, and from there to North America in the late 1800s. Japanese knotweed is considered one of the most damaging weeds in the United Kingdom and one of the major invasive plant species in the temperate regions of North America. Japanese knotweed is spreading rapidly and most seriously in the eastern US, as far north as Nova Scotia, and as far south as Georgia and Louisiana; in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington are most heavily infested.
- This plant is sometimes called Bamboo (although it is in the Buckwheat Family and Bamboo is in the Grass Family) due to the jointed stems. It can become an invasive plant.
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Chinese:
Common Names in Danish:
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
American Bamboo, Crimson Beauty, Donkey Rhubarb, Elephant Ears, False Bamboo, Fleeceflower, German Sausage, Hancock's Curse, Huzhang, Itadori, Japanese Bamboo, Japanese Fleece Flower, Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Polygonum, Knot Grass, Kontiki Bamboo, Mexican Bamboo, Mexican-Bamboo, Peashooter Plant, Reynoutria, Reynoutria Fleece Flower, Sally Rhubarb
Common Names in Estonian:
Vooljas Kirburohi, Vooljas Pargitatar
Common Names in Finnish:
Common Names in French:
Renou, Renouée à Feuilles En Pointe, Renouée à Feuilles Pointues, Renouée Du Japon, Renouée Du Japon
Common Names in German:
Common Names in Japanese:
Itadori, Itadori (Reynoutria), Shiro Bana Sakura Tade (Persicaria)
Common Names in Polish:
Rdest Ostrokoñczysty, Rdestowiec Ostrokoñczysty
Common Names in Swedish:
, or subshrubs
in P. striatulum), homophyllous
, sometimes heterocarpic; roots
or woody. Stems prostrate
or sometimes papillous-scabridulous. Leaves cauline, alternate (opposite in P. humifusum), petiolate
or sessile; ocrea with distal part persistent
, often hyaline
, white or silvery, 2-lobed, chartaceous
, glabrous, disintegrating into fibers, or disintegrating completely; petiole
articulated with ocrea or not; blade
, lanceolate, elliptic
, or subround, margins
entire. Inflorescences axillary
or axillary and terminal
, spikelike, or flowers solitary; peduncle absent. Pedicels present or absent. Flowers bisexual
, 1-7(-10) per ocreate
fascicle, base not stipelike; perianth nonaccrescent, white or greenish white to pink, campanulate
, glabrous; tepals 5, connate
3-70% of their length
or, rarely, dimorphic
, the inner usually flat, the outer flat or sometimes keeled
distally, sometimes of different length than the inner; stamens 3-8 (some may be reduced to staminodes) ; filaments
to perianth tube, glabrous; anthers
whitish yellow, pink to purple or orange-pink, elliptic to oblong
; styles (2-) 3, mostly spreading
, distinct or connate proximally; stigmas 2-3, capitate. Achenes included
or exserted, yellow-green, brown, or black, unwinged, (2-) 3-gonous, glabrous. Seeds: embryo curved
. x = 10.
Species ca. 65: nearly worldwide.
Two sections of Polygonum are recognized here. Section Polygonum is nearly cosmopolitan and best represented in north-temperate regions; sect. Duravia comprises species restricted to North America. K . Haraldson (1978) recognized both sections based on differences in stem morphology, petiole structure, and pollen morphology. J. C. Hickman (1984) described sect. Monticola and included in it species of sect. Duravia occurring mostly in montane habitats , with leaves articulated to the ocreae, one-veined, and not mucronate , proximal leaves lanceolate to round , and styles connate at their bases and neither hardened nor persistent. L.-P. Ronse Decraene and J. R. Akeroyd (1988) and L.-P. Ronse Decraene et al. (2000) included sect. Duravia in sect. Polygonum based on floral and fruit characters.
Similarities in floral structure, fruit anatomy, and pollen morphology have been noted between Polygonella with Polygonum (L.-P. Ronse Decraene et al. 2000). Based on evidence from comparative morphological studies, Ronse Decraene et al. (2004) included Polygonella in sect. Duravia of Polygonum.
Four introduced taxa of sect. Polygonum that were collected in the flora area at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century appear not to have persisted here and are not included in the keys . Polygonum arenarium Waldstein & Kitaibel and P. bellardii Allioni were reported by B . L. Robinson (1902) from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, respectively. The former resembles P. patulum but has open flowers. Polygonum bellardii is discussed below under P. ramosissimum. Polygonum polycnemoides Jaubert & Spach and P. humifusum C. Merck ex K. Koch subsp. humifusum were reported by J. F. Brenckle (1941). The former was collected in New York City in 1894 and in Idaho in 1940. It differs from all other Polygonum species in having a tube 55-70% of the perianth length. Polygonum humifusum subsp. humifusum is discussed below under P. humifusum subsp. caurianum.
Species Polygonum cuspidatum
is an upright, shrub
like, herbaceous perennial
that can rapidly
grow to over 3 m
(Remaley, 1997). Red/purple shoots
early in spring
but as the canes
grow, the leaves unfurl and the
green. The mature
canes are hollow and have a characteristic
of purple speckles. Flowering occurs in late summer/autumn
and consists of creamy white flowers.
The base of the stem above each joint is surrounded by a membranous sheath . Leaf size is usually about 15 cm long by 8 -10 cm wide, broadly oval to somewhat triangular and pointed at the tip . Seeds are about 2.5 mm long, and are triangular and shiny. The rhizome may extend as deep as 3m and up to 7m away from the parent plant, and is knotty and leathery brown. Fresh rhizome snaps like a carrot and usually possesses a dark orange central core with an orange/yellow outer ring . Both male and female flowers possess vestigial organs of the other sex.
A mature Japanese knotweed plant is made up of several to many stout hollow jointed reddish, longitudinally ridged canes. Without leaves, it can look similar to bamboo . The petioled alternate leaves are generally 4-6 inches long, pale green with an abrupt pointed tip, and squared off at the bottom . The greenish white flowers form in racemes from the upper leaf axils . They are often branched, forming a series of panicles.
Habit: Subshrub , Shrub , Forb/herb
Flowers: Bloom Period: July, August. • Flower Color: near white, white
Size: 4-6' tall.
An herbaceous perennial
that can grow in a wide range
but is most often found in riparian
areas. The species forms monospecific
thickets of plants
2 to 4 meters tall. In these areas, native
is all but eliminated. In the Pacific Northwest the encroachment
of Japanese knotweed is causing concern because it creates problems
in salmon restoration
Japanese knotweed is insect pollinated and seeds are wind dispersed. However, in the US and Europ seeds are not the primary means of reproduction . Spread is mostly by large rhizomes, which may reach a length of 10 to 25 meters. A small piece of rhizome can float down a river and begin to grow once it is deposited on land. It is a very fast grower that can reach a height of 4 meters and overtop native vegetation very quickly. Japanese knotweed is extremely difficult to control since herbicide use is restricted on its favored riparian habitats and any fragment of rhizome left in cleared land can regenerate a new plant.
F. japonica can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including full shade, high temperatures , high salinity and drought . It is found near water sources, such as along river banks, low-lying and disturbed areas. It can colonise coastal shores and islands. In its native range, it grows on volcanic soils with a pH less than 4 (Conolly, 1977, in Seiger, 1991). In the U.S.A., it grows in a variety of soil types, such as silt , loam , and sand, with pH ranging from 4.5 to 7.4. Its distribution appears to be limited by light (Seiger, 1991), and it is found primarily in open sites.
Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,770 meters (0 to 9,088 feet).
Invasive: invades a variety of habitats
, forms large colonies,
as a cultivated plant
. Japanese knotweed forms dense thickets
that shade the soil and block
Control: Because the plant is rhizomatous , and spreads primarily through vegetative growth , it is very hard to control. Repeated manual cutting of the canes can eventually exhaust the root system . Cutting back must be done three times in a growing season to achieve good control. Application of a low concentration glyphosate herbicide has been effective in controlling Japanese knotweed. In Maryland and Pennsylvania, land managers have achieved the best results when they allowed plants to attain full size after spring emergence , cut them down in June (or “knocked back” the plants with glyphosate), permitted them to flush, and apply a foliar treatment eight weeks after cutting to these smaller, lower plants. Sequential glyphosate treatments in July and then September can also be effective – the first spray treatment serves the same purpose as an after-emergence cutting. Because Japanese knotweed most often grows next to or near water, aquatic-safe formulations of herbicide are required.
F. japonica is a threat in open and riparian areas where it speads rapidly to form dense stands, excluding native vegetation and prohibiting regeneration. This reduces species diversity and alters habitat for wildlife. Once stands become established , they are extremely persistent and difficult to remove.
. Dioecious. The primary
in Europe and
North America appears to be through extensive rhizomes (Seiger, 1991).
can grow after cutting. It is believed to be clonal
in the UK and possibly the USA. Plants
can reliably regenerate from
less than 5g of root
material and the rhizomes beneath
stand of knotweed can produce
238 new shoots
. Some clumps
japonica will have originated from a single rhizome and will
have only one type of flower.
Rhizomes can regenerate when buried up to 1 meter deep and have been observed growing through 5 cm of asphalt (Locandro 1978, Pridham and Bing 1975, in Seiger, 1991). The ability of rhizomes to generate shoots was affected by the source of rhizome fragments as well as fragment size and depth planted, the optimal depth being just below the surface (Locandro 1973, in Seiger, 1991). Adult plants die back at the first frost, leaving the root material to overwinter and provide the stock for the coming year.
Culture: Space 24-36" apart.
Soil: Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 6.5
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b. (map)
- Vascular Plants
Grass Family) due to the jointed stems.
- C. Linnaeus, 1753
- Knotweed [Greek poly, many, and gony, knee joint (traditional interpretation), or gone, seed (grammatically correct interpretation)]
- Specific epithet:
- Sieb. & Zucc.
up to the publication of Icones
- Botanical name: - Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. & Zucc.
- Form: l literature up to the publication of Icones
- Specific epithet: cuspidatum - Sieb. & Zucc.
- Genus: Polygonum () - C. Linnaeus, 1753 - Knotweed [Greek poly, many, and gony, knee joint (traditional interpretation), or gone, seed (grammatically correct interpretation)]
- Tribe: Polygoneae ()
- Subfamily: Polygonoideae ()
- Family: Grass Family) due to the jointed stems. It ca ()
- Order: Caryophyllales ()
- Class: Spermatopsida ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Vascular Plants
Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Dcne. • Pleuropterus cuspidatus (Sieb. & Zucc.) Moldenke • Pleuropterus zuccarinii (Small) Small • Polygonum cuspidatum var. compactum (Hook F.) Bailey • Polygonum zuccarinii Small • Reynoutria japonica Houtt.
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 15-Mar-2000
Members of the genus Polygonum
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 135 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:
P. achoreum (Leathery Knotweed) · P. acuminatum (Tapertip Smartweed) · P. affine (Himalayan Fleece Flower) · P. alpinum (Alaska Wild Rhubarb) · P. amphibium (Longroot Smartweed) · P. amphibium var. emersum (Longroot Smartweed) · P. amphibium var. stipulaceum (Swamp Smartweed) · P. arenarium (European Knotweed) · P. arenastrum (Common Knotweed) · P. argyrocoleon (Persian Knotweed) · P. arifolium (Halberdleaf Tearthumb) · P. aubertii (Chinese Fleecevine) · P. aubertii 'Lemon Lace' (Silverlace Vine) · P. aviculare (Birdgrass) · P. aviculare angustissimum (Prostrate Knotweed) · P. aviculare aviculare (Prostrate Knotweed) · P. aviculare neglectum (Prostrate Knotweed) · P. baldschuanicum (Bukhara Fleeceflower) · P. bellardii (Narrowleaf Knotweed) · P. bidwelliae (Bidwell's Knotweed) · P. bistorta (Meadow Bistort) · P. bistorta carneum (Meadow Bistort) · P. bistorta var. bistorta (Meadow Bistort) · P. bistorta var. plumosum (Meadow Bistort) · P. bistorta 'Superbum' (European Bistort) · P. bistortoides (American Bistort) · P. bohemicum (Bohemian Knotweed) · P. bolanderi (Bolander's Knotweed) · P. boreale (Northern Knotweed) · P. bungeanum (Bunge's Smartweed) · P. buxiforme (Box Knotweed) · P. caespitosum (Bristled Knotweed) · P. caespitosum var. caespitosum (Oriental Ladysthumb) · P. caespitosum var. longisetum (Oriental Ladysthumb) · P. californicum (California Knotweed) · P. campanulatum (Bellflower Smartweed) · P. capathifolium (Grey Moray) · P. capitatum (Pink Knotweed) · P. careyi (Carey's Smartweed) · P. cascadense (Cascade Knotweed) · P. caurianum (Alaska Knotweed) · P. chinense (Chinese Knotweed) · P. cilinode (Fringed Black Bindweed) · P. convolvulus (Black Bindweed) · P. convolvulus var. convolvulus (Knot Grass) · P. convolvulus var. subulatum (Wild Buckwheat) · P. cuspidatum (American Bamboo) · P. cuspidatum 'Crimson Beauty' (False Bamboo) · P. cuspidatum 'Devon Cream' (False Bamboo) · P. cuspidatum 'Freckles' (Speckled Mexican Bamboo) · P. cuspidatum 'Variegata' (Speckled Mexican Bamboo) · P. davisiae (Davis' Knotweed) · P. densiflorum (Denseflower Knotweed) · P. douglasii (Douglas Knotweed) · P. douglasii nuttalii (Douglas´s Knotweed) · P. douglasii var. douglasii (Douglas´s Knotweed) · P. douglasii subsp. austiniae (Austin's Knotweed) · P. douglasii subsp. engelmannii (Engelmann's Knotweed) · P. douglasii subsp. johnstonii (Johnston's Knotweed) · P. douglasii subsp. majus (Large Knotweed) · P. douglasii subsp. nuttallii (Nuttall's Knotweed) · P. douglasii subsp. spergulariiforme (Scatter Knotweed) · P. emersum (Longroot Smartweed) · P. equisetiforme (Horsetail Knotgrass) · P. erectum (Devil's Shoestring) · P. fowleri (Fowler's Knotweed) · P. franktonii (Nova Scotia Knotweed) · P. glaucum (Seaside Knotweed) · P. herniarioides (Knotweed) · P. heterosepalum (Oddsepal Knotweed) · P. hickmanii (Hickman's Knotweed) · P. hirsutum (Hairy Smartweed) · P. hydropiper (Annual Smartweed) · P. hydropiperoides (Mild Water-Pepper) · P. islandicum (Island Purslane) · P. lacerum (Fringed Knotweed) · P. lapathifolium (Curltop Ladysthumb) · P. lapathifolium var. lapathifolium (Curltop Ladysthumb) · P. leptocarpum (Narrow-Point Knotweed) · P. marinense (Marin Knotweed) · P. meisnerianum (Branched Tearthumb) · P. meisnerianum var. beyrichianum (Branched Tearthumb) · P. minimum (Broadleaf Knotweed) · P. mite (Tasteless Water Pepper) · P. multiflorum (Fo-Ti) · P. nepalense (Nepalese Smartweed) · P. odoratum (Vietnamese Coriander) · P. orientale (Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate) · P. orientale 'Shiro-Gane Nishiki' (Variegated Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate) · P. oxyspermum (Sharpfruit Knotweed) · P. oxyspermum raii (Sharpfruit Knotweed) · P. paronychia (Beach Knotweed) · P. paronychioides (Knotweed) · P. parryi (Parry's Knotweed) · P. patulum (Bellard's Smartweed) · P. pensylvanicum (Pennsylvania Knotweed) · P. perfoliatum (Asiatic Tear Thumb) · P. persicaria (Lady's Thumb) · P. persicaria persicaria (Lady's-Thumb) · P. phytolaccifolium (Mountain Lice)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 22, 2007:
- Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Museum of Nature Herbarium
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden
- Oregon State University, Vascular Plant Collection
- Taiwan Biodiversity Information Facility, Magnoliophyta
- The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Bioblitz
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Botany
- USDA PLANTS, USDA PLANTS Database
- University of Alabama Biodiversity and Systematics, Herbarium
- University of Alaska Museum of the North, University of Alaska Museum of the North Herbarium
- University of Washington Burke Museum, Vascular Plant Collection - University of Washington Herbarium
- inatura - Erlebnis Naturschau Dornbirn, inatura - Erlebnis Naturschau Dornbirn
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2647025
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-20889
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 4490920
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:695613-1
- GRIN Nomen Number: 316794
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 20889
- International Plant Names Index (IPNI) ID: 695612-1
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: REJA2
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 10700
- Mihai Costea, François J. Tardif, Harold R. Hinds "Polygonum". in Flora of North America Vol. 5. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- Mean = 219.610 meters (720.505 feet), Standard Deviation = 231.480 based on 3,797 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]