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Persicaria capitata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Polygonaceae
Subfamily: Polygonoideae
Genus: Persicaria
Mill. 1754

See text

    • Amblygonum Rchb.
    • Antenoron Raf.
    • Cephalophilon (Meisn.) Spach
    • Chylocalyx Hassk.
    • Echinocaulon (Meisn.) Spach
    • Echinocaulos Hassk.
    • Goniaticum Stokes
    • Heptarina Raf.
    • Lagunaea C.Agardh
    • Lagunea Lour.
    • Mitesia Raf.
    • Peutalis Raf.
    • Pogalis Raf.
    • Sunania Raf.
    • Tasoba Raf.
    • Tovara Adans.
    • Tracaulon Raf.
    • Truellum Houtt.
Illustration from the Japanese agricultural encyclopedia Seikei Zusetsu (1804)

Persicaria is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the knotweed family, Polygonaceae. Plants of the genus are known commonly as knotweeds[2]: 436  or smartweeds.[3] It has a cosmopolitan distribution, with species occurring nearly worldwide.[3][4] The genus was segregated from Polygonum.[5]

Persicaria amphibia
Persicaria glabra
Persicaria longiseta
Persicaria minor
Persicaria orientalis


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.[3] The stems are self-supporting or twining and climbing.[6] 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, pink 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.[3]


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.[7]






As of November 2023, the following 132 species were accepted:[8]


  1. ^ "Persicaria Mill". Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  2. ^ Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780521707725.
  3. ^ a b c d Persicaria. Flora of North America.
  4. ^ Persicaria. New South Wales Flora Online. National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.
  5. ^ Wilson, K. L. (1990). Some widespread species of Persicaria (Polygonaceae) and their allies. Kew Bulletin 45(4) 621-36.
  6. ^ Persicaria. FloraBase. Western Australian Herbarium.
  7. ^ Schuster et al 2015.
  8. ^ "Persicaria Mill". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2023-11-08.