- Polygonum hydropiperoides
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The leaves of Polygonum are alternate with tubelike sheathing
stipules (ocrea) and stems with swollen nodes. The flowers have no petals,
but the sepals resemble petals. The fruit is an achene.
Polygonum arifolium is an annual with slender stems that are
weak and up to 2 m or more long, erect at first, later reclining or intertwined
with other vegetation. The stem is ribbed-angled and retrorsely barbed.
Leaves are petioled and pubescent. Leaf blades are about 15 cm long and
7 broad, oblong or ovate-oblong above, with horizontally divergent (hastate)
basal lobes. Flowers are few, pink to purplish to white, in short racemes
on slender barbed stalks. The achene is lenticular.
Polygonum hydropiperoides is a perennial. The lower portion
of stems are decumbent and root at the nodes. Flowering stems are erect,
mostly about 5 dm tall. Leaves are short-stalked to sessile, the blades
lanceolate to nearly linear-lanceolate, pubescent, about 1 cm wide and
7 to 10 cm long. The flowers are roseate at the base of the inflorescence;
the upper most flowers, pink or cream-white, rarely greenish, purplish,
or white. The sepals lack glandular dots. The achene is 3-angled.
Both halberd-leaved tearthumb and smartweed grow in wet meadows, marshes,
shorelines of lakes and ponds, and open areas in wet woodlands. Polygonum
hydropiperoides is often found in extensive colonies along shorelines
and in exposed bottoms of ponds or lakes during times of low water. It
may also grow in drainage and irrigation ditches and canals. The seeds
are dispersed by animals or by water.
Dense colonies of P. hydropiperoides can impede water flow in
irrigation ditches (Tarver et al. 1986) and restrict recreational activities
along shoreline areas. The seeds of smartweed are eaten by birds, waterfowl
and several small mammals Tarver et al. 1986).
Links to more information
Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers
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