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Common Name: Red Leg
Polygonum persicaria is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
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[
Temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, including Britain.
Damp shady places[
]. A common weed of cultivated land, avoiding shade[
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 and young shoots - raw or cooked[
]. They contain about 1.9% fat, 5.4% pectin, 3.2% sugars, 27.6% cellulose, 1% tannin[
Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.
The leaves are astringent, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge[
]. An infusion has been used as a treatment for gravel and stomach pains[
]. A decoction of the plant, mixed with flour, has been used as a poultice to help relieve pain[
]. A decoction of the plant has been used as a foot and leg soak in the treatment of rheumatism[
]. The crushed leaves have been rubbed on poison ivy rash[
A yellow dye is obtained from the plant when alum is used as a mordant[
Seed - sow spring in situ.