Jumpseed (Persicaria virginiana), also called Virginia Knotweed or Woodland Knotweed is a species of Persicaria (smartweeds), unusual as a shade-tolerant member of a mostly sun-loving genus. Jumpseed is a perennial, named for its seeds which can "jump" several feet when a ripe seedpod is disturbed.
It blooms in midsummer to late summer/early fall. It has a stalk of small white flowers.
Like other Persicaria, jumpseed has alternate leaves, with fine-hairy stipular sheaths with bristle-fringed edges which often turn brownish. Flowers, widely spaced along slender stalks, are white to greenish-white, rarely pink-tinged, and fruiting flowers have 2 downward-pointing hook-tipped styles. It is easily distinguished from most other Persicaria by its much larger, more oval-shaped leaves, although a few species also have large leaves. It sometimes has a chevron-shaped marking on the leaves; often a single plant will have this marking on some leaves but not others.
Cultivars and naturalized populations from cultivation show much greater variation than wild-type plants, sometimes having variagation or have more involved red patterning, and sometimes having red or pink flowers.
Jumpseed has a wide native range throughout most of Eastern North America, from Ontario and Quebec, south to Floria, and west to Texas, Nebraska, and Minnesota.
It naturally occurs in full to partial shade, on riverbanks, woods, cliffs, and rocks.
Many variegated cultivars exist. The plant prefers medium to moist soil and full sun to part shade.
- David M. Brandenburg, Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America, National Wildlife Federation, Sterling Publishing, New York, 2010. (pp. 432)
- 1. Persicaria virginiana (Linnaeus) Gaertner, Flora of North America
- Polygonum virginianum L., Jumpseed, USDA Plants Profile
- Persicaria virginiana - UW Stevens Point Freckmann Herbarium
- Missouri Botanical Garden
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