Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Polygonum virginianum L.
- Family: Smartweed (Polygonaceae)
- Flowering: July-October
- Field Marks: This species has widely spaced white flowers in a curving terminal raceme.
- Habitat: Rich shaded woods, bottomlands.
- Habit: Perennial herb with a knotty rhizome.
- Stems: Upright or arching, usually unbranched, smooth or slightly hairy, up to 4 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, ovate, long-pointed at the tip, tapering or rounded at the base,
without teeth, usually somewhat hairy, up to 6 inches long; sheaths fringed with short bristles.
- Flowers: Several arranged in a curving terminal raceme, up to 12 inches long, with none of
the flowers touching.
- Sepals: 4, white or greenish, sometimes tinged with rose, united below, up to 1/6 inch long.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 2, hooked at the tip.
- Fruits: Achenes flattened, broadly oblong to ovate, usually brown, smooth, shiny, with the
persistent styles at the tip.
- Notes: Because of several differences between this species and others in the genus Polygonum,
this species is sometimes called Tovara virginiana.
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