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Persicaria capitata AF crop.jpg
Persicaria capitata
Scientific classification edit
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]


There are about 66,[6] 100[2] to 150 species[3][7] in this genus, depending on how it is defined.[4]

Species names include:[2][3][6][8][9]


  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 e f Persicaria. Flora of North America.
  3. ^ a b c Persicaria. New South Wales Flora Online. National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "The Plant List: Persicaria". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden. 2013.
  7. ^ Kantachot, C., et al. (2010). A synopsis of the genus Persicaria (Polygonaceae) in Thailand. Thai Forestry Bulletin (Botany) 38, 128–49.
  8. ^ Persicaria. Flora of Pakistan.
  9. ^ GRIN Species Records of Persicaria. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).