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



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Anchorage, Alaska

Palmer, Alaska

East Haddam, Connecticut

Skowhegan, Maine

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Buffalo, New York

Lexington, Virginia

Appleton, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 27, 2017, Lhconstantino from Anchorage, AK wrote:

15 years ago, I bought a Persicaria bistorta recommended by a local nursery in Anchorage, Alaska. We innocently planted it near a pond as suggested by nursery owner. At first we saw it as a pretty pink spring flower that bloomed at the same time as our purple irises - a nice combination. Then we realized it's the devil and incredibly invasive. We've tried many times to remove it and it always comes back stronger than ever. It's seemingly impossible to eradicate and has made gardening around the pond completely intolerable. We've lost so many valuable plants to its relentless spread. I've finally given up - it's relentless and we're old.


On Dec 29, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The May/June flowers are beautiful, and this is one of the plants that most frequently elicits questions from those on garden tours. It's not commonly grown in New England. It blooms for about 3 weeks in May/June. Deadheading results in some scattered rebloom.

In North America, the plants in cultivation are the cultivar 'Superba', which has fatter, showier flower spikes and is shown in most of the above photos. I have grown it for 15 years and never seen a seedling.

Armitage (_Herbaceous Perennial Plants_) states that it's hardy in Z3-7, and that it does poorly in the hot humid summers of the southeastern US.

It's an aggressive spreader in the garden by a thick shallow rhizome. A garden thug, it's not difficult to control if you're willing to di... read more


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.


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.


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 g... read more