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Persicaria capitata AF crop.jpg
Persicaria capitata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Polygonaceae
Subfamily: Polygonoideae
Genus: Persicaria
Mill. 1754

See text

Persicaria is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the knotweed family, Polygonaceae. Plants of the genus are known commonly as knotweeds[1]:436 or smartweeds.[2] It has a cosmopolitan distribution, with species occurring nearly worldwide.[2][3] The genus was segregated from Polygonum.[4]


The genus includes annual and perennial herbs with taproots or fibrous root systems, or with rhizomes or stolons. The stems are often erect but may be prostrate along the ground, and some species are prickly.[2] The stems are self-supporting or twining and climbing.[5] The leaves are alternately arranged, deciduous, and variously shaped. The brownish or reddish ochrea may be leathery to papery. The inflorescence may be a panicle or a spikelike or headlike arrangement of fascicles of flowers. The flower is white, greenish, reddish, or purple, with the tepals partially fused together along the bases. The fruit is an achene which can take a number of shapes, including a disc or a sphere.[2]


Within the family Polygonaceae, Persicaria is placed in the subfamily Polygonoideae, where the tribe Persicarieae consists of two sister genera, Bistorta and Koenigia, together with Persicaria.[6]






As of February 2019, Plants of the World Online accepted the following 131 species:[7][Note 1]


  1. ^ As of May 2019, "Persicaria persicaria Small" was also listed, but the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants does not allow tautonyms, and this name is illegitimate.[8] The correct name is Persicaria maculosa.


  1. ^ Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780521707725.
  2. ^ a b c d Persicaria. Flora of North America.
  3. ^ Persicaria. New South Wales Flora Online. National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.
  4. ^ Wilson, K. L. (1990). Some widespread species of Persicaria (Polygonaceae) and their allies. Kew Bulletin 45(4) 621-36.
  5. ^ Persicaria. FloraBase. Western Australian Herbarium.
  6. ^ Schuster et al 2015.
  7. ^ "Persicaria Mill". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  8. ^ "Plant Name Details for Persicaria persicaria Small". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2019-05-05.