Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Polygonum viviparum L.
- Family: Smartweed (Polygonaceae)
- Flowering: June-August
- Field Marks: This species is readily recognized by the spike-like racemes of white or pinkish flowers with bulblets present in the axils of the lowest bracts. Almost all the leaves are basal.
- Habitat: Moist habitats, sometimes in alkaline soil.
- Habit: Perennial herb with an erect rhizome.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched, up to 1 foot tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Almost all basal, linear to oblong-lanceolate, up to 3 1/2 inches long, up to
3/4 inch wide, rounded or pointed at the tip, more or less heart-shaped at the base, smooth,
on stalks as long as the blades; leaves on the stem few, alternate, linear-lanceolate, the
- Flowers: Several in a single spike-like raceme up to 2 1/2 inches long, the lower bracts bearing reddish bulblets in their axils.
- Sepals: 5, white or pink, united at the base.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: Usually 5, exserted beyond the sepals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 3.
- Fruits: Achenes triangular, dark brown, not shiny.
- Notes: Most of the flowers fail to produce viable seeds.
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