Polygonaceae Family:

Persicaria species from left to right: Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper), Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb), Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed), Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed), Persicaria virginiana (Jumpseed), and Persicaria sagittata (Heartleaf Tearthumb) also along the bottom. Photo taken on 9-22-19, #635-3.

Polygonaceae Juss.

The plant family Polygonaceae was named and described by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789.

As of 1-8-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 56 genera in this family commonly known as the knotweed, smartweed, or buckwheat family. Other sources have different figures, but the family is still under evaluation (aren’t they all).

I only have experience with a few species in the Persicaria and Rumex genera. I have identified seven species of Persicaria and three Rumex. You can click on the names under the photos to go to their own pages. After I identified the Persicaria species in 2019, I wrote a post called Perplexing Persicaria with links to pages for each species. Then, of course, the new Fallopia scandens in 2023.

For more information about this family of plants, please click on the links below. The links take you directly to the information about the family.


Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat) on 10-2-22, #908-13.

I was walking along the boundary fence in the front pasture on October 2 in 2022 looking at all the different vines climbing on the fence. Toward the end, I spotted an oddity I hadn’t seen before. I am always finding something new to me. I took several photos and uploaded them on iNaturalist to find out what it was. The suggestion was Fallopia scandens (Climbing  False Buckwheat). I have seen some strange plants and this one would have to go on the top five list.

I should plug iNaturalist for being such a great website for helping me identify wildflowers, birds, insects, reptiles, and butterflies. Just sign up and enjoy. If you have something you are trying to identify, go to where it says “upload” then drag and drop your photo, add your location, and list if suggested species will drop down. You can click on “view” to see photos and information about species on the list. Once you submit your observation, other members will see what you have posted and hopefully agree then your observation will become Research Grade. Be sure to add photos of the entire plant (iff possible), flowers (front and bottom side), stems, and leaves. This will give other members a better idea since many species have look-alikes. It is very addictive plus it shows where species are present.


Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper) on 9-4-19, #623-24.

The Persicaria hydropiper (Water Pepper, ETC.) was one of seven species of Persicaria I identified on my farm in 2019. This was one of the most abundant in the genus…


Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on 8-31-19, #619-9.

Most of the Persicaria longiseta (Oriental Lady’s Thumb) on the farm grow around the side porch and sheds, but there was a small colony behind the pond in the back pasture. They are fairly easy to identify if you know what you are looking for. Common names include Oriental Lady’s Thumb, Bristly Lady’s Thumb, Asiatic Smartweed, Creeping Smartweed, Long-Bristled Smartweed, Low Smartweed, Asiatic Waterpepper, Bristled Knotweed, Bunchy Knotweed, Tufted Knotweed, and maybe others…


Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) on 9-4-19, #623-36.

Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) grows here and there on the farm wherever it gets an opportunity. The dark print on its leaves is one characteristic but is not always present…. Common names include Lady’s Thumb, Redshank, Heart’s Ease, Heartweed, Spotted Knotweed, and possibly others.


Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) on 8-30-19, #618-25.

The Persicaria pensylvanica (Pinkweed) is mainly found by the gate next to the barn and under one of the mulberry trees in the front pasture. They are fairly easy to identify. Common names include Pinkweed, Pennsylvania Smartweed, Pink Smartweed, Pink Knotweed, and possibly others.


Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) on 8-28-19, #616-7. The above photo was taken of a colony behind the chicken house.

There were several massive colonies of Persicaria punctata (Dotted Smartweed) on the farm in 2019. I had to wait until the seeds were ripe to make a positive ID… Common names include Dotted Smartweed, Dotted Knotweed, Water Smartweed, and possibly others.


Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) on 9-1-19, #620-44.

There are a few Persicaria sagittata (Arrowleaf Tearthumb) growing in the southeast corner of the farm. I like their leaves… Common names include Arrowleaf Tearthumb, American Tearthumb, Arrowvine, Snatchgrass, and maybe others.


Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed) by the steps to the back porch on 8-20-17, #367-21.

My first experience with Persicaria virginiana (Virginia Jumpseed, ETC.) is when one came up by the back stems in 2017. I have photographed them here and there on the farm, and there is A HUGE colony that grows in the trees north of the chicken house. I called it my jumpseed jackpot… Common names include Jumpseed, American Jumpseed, Virginia Jumpseed, Virginia Knotweed, Woodland Knotweed, and possibly others…


Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) on 4-15-20, #688-16.

It was weird… I found a good-sized patch of Rumex acetosella (Sheep Sorrel) growing in the yard in 2020. I had been running over it so I let it grow so I could identify it. What was odd was the fact I hadn’t noticed them until then for the patch to be so large. It would be even stranger if it just showed up in 2020 in mass. I guess I was always mowing without paying attention to what I may be running over. Well, you know we run over a lot of weeds (wildflowers) when we mow. However, Rumex acetosella is a species that can get out of hand that we could all do without… Common names include Sheep Sorrel, Sour Weed, Red Sorrel, and probably others…


Rumex altissimus (Tall Dock) on 5-16-20, #701-1.

I found this Rumex altissimus (Tall Dock) on a friend’s farm by a gate going to his pasture in 2020. Common names include Tall Dock, Smooth Dock, Pale Dock, Peach-Leaf Dock, and possibly others. I have not seen this species of Rumex on my farm…


Rumex crispus (Curled Dock) on 5-11-20, #698-22.

There are always a few Rumex crispus (Curled Dock) growing here and there on the farm since I was a kid. I kind of like seeing them and have never had a problem with them getting out of hand. They are listed as an invasive, noxious weed in some states. They are an introduced species in North America. Common names include Curled Dock, Curly Dock, Narrow Dock, Sour Dock, Yellow Dock, and possibly others.


That’s it for now for my experience in this family. You never know what I will find…

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