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Persicaria pensylvanica

Previously known as:

  • Persicaria bicornis
  • Persicaria longistyla
  • Persicaria mississippiensis
  • Persicaria pensylvanica var. dura
  • Polygonum bicorne
  • Polygonum pensylvanicum
Phonetic Spelling
per-sih-KAR-ee-uh pen-sill-VAN-ee-ka
Description

Pennsylvania smartweed is a wildflower that can be found in a wide variety of moist, open areas ranging from fields, ditches, roadsides, swamps, prairies, fence rows, edges of marshes, lakes, and ponds and abandoned parking lots.  It grows at its best in dark, loamy, moist soils.

Several types of insects seek out this plant in search of nectar.  This includes bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, and beetles.  The seeds are eaten by birds such as the cardinal, goose, mallard, and sparrow.  The seeds are not fully digestible, thereby spreading the partially digested seed in bird droppings.  The seeds are black, shiny flattened, almost round.

It has both male and female organs, making it hermaphrodite.  Its flowers are typically pink, but can also be found in bright pink and white.

It is a native of the lower 48 states, with the exception of a few northwestern states.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#weeds#wildlife plant#NC native#herb garden culinary#native garden#wildflower garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#weeds#wildlife plant#NC native#herb garden culinary#native garden#wildflower garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Persicaria
    Species:
    pensylvanica
    Family:
    Polygonaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America, Cuba to Hispaniola
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds are eaten by songbirds and waterfowl. Also used for nesting.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1" to 2" dense spike of small rose-pink flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    4" to 6" shiny leaves, sheaths without fringes, reddish joints. Some plants have small, wicked barbs on slender stems, thickened at the nodes. Tiny hairs on the margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Upright, sticky, hairy stems. Around each node on the stem, a membranous sheath (ocreae) is formed. The puffed-up nodes appear red in color.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Rock Wall
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen