Snakeweed is a clump forming herbaceous perennial native to Europe and western and central Asia where it grows near water and damp meadows. It is a member of the knotweed family, Polygonaceae, that includes rhubarb, buckwheat and some infamous weeds. The botanical name, Persicaria bistorta, is more recently used for this plant. The medium green paddle-like basal leaves are four to six inches long, and have wavy margins and a white midrib. The ¼ inch pink flowers are carried on stalks twenty four to thirty inches tall in densely packed spikes four to five inches long. The long stamens protrude from the flowers giving the spike a fuzzy, bottle brush appearance. Flowers bloom for a long time from late spring to early summer and are good cut flowers. An excellent choice for a ground cover, front of the border, rock garden or bog garden.The genus name, Polygonum, comes from the Greek poly- meaning many and goni meaning knee or joint and refers to the swollen nodes on the stems of some species. The genus name, Persicaria, comes from the Latin words persica meaning peach-like, and sagitta meaning arrow, and refers to appearance of the leaf of some species. The specific epithet, bistorta, comes from Latin bis meaning twice and torta meaning twisted and refers to the twice twisted root.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom:Pink, ¼ inch wide flowers with protruding stamens in densely packed spikes four to five inches long on stems twenty four to thirty inches tall from late spring to early summer.
Size: 18-30” H x 30” W
Light: Part shade
Soil: Humus rich, moist
Hardiness: Zones 3-8
Care: Low maintenance
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Division in spring or fall
Companion plants: Hosta, Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia siphilitica, Primula, Trollius
Outstanding Selection: ‘Superbum’ (larger size and bigger flowers than species)