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PlantFiles: Bistort, Easter Ledges, Dragonwort, Snake Weed
Persicaria bistorta

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria (per-sih-KAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: bistorta (bis-TOR-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Polygonum bistorta

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jrtinker On Jul 31, 2011, jrtinker from Palmer, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

This plant is a native wildflower in Alaska, growing in moist alpine meadows. Very hardy and garden worthy. It likes steady moisture for best performance.

Positive planter64 On Jun 21, 2003, planter64 from Alexandria, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I actually have this plant growing under a red maple(see picture). I do water it often as it likes moisture. But, if some say it may become an invasive plant in optimum conditions then it will hopefully control itself in dry shade. It took a while to get it established under this tree but supply it with plenty of organic matter and mulch and it makes a fine show in May/June. Becoming more available in U.S...more common in England.

Neutral Baa On Sep 9, 2002, Baa wrote:

A semi-evergreen perennial from Europe and parts of Asia, naturalised elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

Has mid-green, veined, ovate, basal leaves which become smaller and more triangular as they appear up the stems. Bears dense spikes of small, pink, sometimes white flowers which bees love.

Flowers May-September

Likes a moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade. It will tolerate drier soils but will not flower nearly so well.

It was once used as an antidote to poisons and for treatment of jaundice, stomach ulcers, dysentry, cholera, measles and a number of other diseases (and yes you guessed it, a cure for the plague). It was also considered a useful midwifery herb.

It's been used as a mouthwash for gum ulcers and toothache; in preparations to treat acne and insect bites and to staunch the blood from small wounds, the plant does have astringent properties.

It was also once used in leather tanning.

Suprisingly it's leaves are edible and has long been used in the north of England in a pudding of various other leaves. It's still occasionally eaten today as a steamed vegetable with lamb or pork.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Palmer, Alaska
East Haddam, Connecticut
Skowhegan, Maine
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Buffalo, New York
Lexington, Virginia
Appleton, Wisconsin

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