Dooryard Knotweed

Dooryard_Knotweed_jpgMembers of this family (Polygonaceae), commonly called the Buckwheat or Smartweed family, include 51 genera and 1,150 species.  Polu means “many” and gonu means “knee” for the swollen stem joints of many species.  Food plants in this family include Buckwheat, Sorrel and Rhubarb. The young shoots of Dooryard Knotweeds, and other species of Knotweeds, may be boiled and eaten as cooked vegetable.  Seeds may be eaten as cereal or ground for flour. Another plant in this genus, Knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare), has been used as a diuretic in Chinese herbal medicine for over 2,000 years.  In the Western tradition, the 1st century AD physician Dioscorides likewise considered the herb a diuretic, as well as a remedy for snake bite.

OtherCommonName:

Many Knees

ScientificName:

Polygonum arenastrum

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Non-native ~ Native of Europe

LifeSpan:

Annual

PlantHeight:

prostrate, mat-forming

FruitingTime:

July to August

Distribution:

Temperate North America ~ Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

July to August

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Leaves bluish-green, broadly elliptic to oval-oblong ~ Freely branching