Aconogonon alpinum (All.) Schur
Aconogonon diffusum (Pall. ex Spreng.) Tzvelev
Aconogonon dshawachischwilii (Kharkev.) Soják
Aconogonon jeholense (Kitag.) H.Hara
Aconogonon polymorphum (Ledeb.) Nakai
Gononcus undulatus Raf.
Persicaria alpina (All.) H.Gross
Persicaria dshawachischwilii (Kharkev.) Cubey
Persicaria frigida (Kudô) Nemoto
Persicaria undulata (Raf.) H.Gross
Pleuropteropyrum japonicum (Maxim.) Nakai
Pleuropteropyrum jeholense Kitag.
Pleuropteropyrum undulatum (Raf.) Á.Löve & D.Löve
Polygonum acidum Pall.
Polygonum alpinum All.
Polygonum diffusum Pall. ex Spreng.
Polygonum dshawachischwilii Kharkev.
Polygonum frigidum Kudô
Polygonum jeholense (Kitag.) A.I.Baranov & Skvortsov ex S.X.Li & Y.L.Chang
Polygonum polymorphum Ledeb.
Polygonum royi Gand.
Common Name: Alpine Knotweed
Koenigia alpina is an erect perennial plant with stems that branch from above the middle; it can grow from 50 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people.
Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
Most of temperate Eurasia, but absent from northwest and central Europe and from Japan
Damp meadows, forest margins, grassy slopes and mixed grass steppes; at elevations from 800 - 2,400 metres[
]. Open humus-rich slopes; at elevations from 2,200 - 2,700 metres in Kashmir[
Koenigia alpina is a very cold-hardy plant, being able to tolerate temperatures down to around -25°c when fully dormant[
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[
] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[
]. Grows well near water[
]. Repays generous treatment[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Plants can be invasive but they are easily controlled by spading around the clump[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. They have an acid flavour and can be used as a sorrel substitute[
]. The chopped leaves and stems have been added to a thick pudding of flour and sugar then eaten[
Leaf stems - raw or cooked. An acid flavour, they can be cut into sections and used like rhubarb (Rheum spp)[
The juice from the plant has been sweetened and used as a refreshing drink[
We have no specific information for this species, but the seed of most, if not all, members of the genus is edible both raw and cooked, and is potentially a good source of amino acids. Unfortunately the seed is also usually rather small and fiddly to utilize[
The whole plant is astringent[
The raw roots and stem bases have been chewed as a treatment for coughs and colds[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.