Aconogonon divaricatum (L.) Nakai
Persicaria divaricata (L.) H.Gross
Pleuropteropyrum divaricatum (L.) Nakai
Polygonum crispum Hornem.
Polygonum divaricatum L.
Polygonum divaricatum is a perennial plant with erect stems that are branched from the base, the branches spreading; it can grow 70 - 120cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It has been trialled in Russia as a potential c0mmercial source of tannins[
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[
Eurasia - European Russia, through Siberia to Russian Far East, Mongolia, northern China and Korea.
Steppes and dry meadows[
]. Thickets in valleys and on grassy slopes; at elevations from 300 - 2,100 metres in northern China[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[
] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[
]. Repays generous treatment[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. No more details are given.
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[
Tannins are obtained from the plant[
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.