This species is better known in the literature as Polygonum salicifolium Brouss. ex Willd.[
Persicaria minor decipiens (R.Br.) Soják
Persicaria salicifolia (Brouss. ex Willd.) Assenov
Persicaria serrulata (Lag.) Webb & Moq.
Polygonum abyssinicum A.Rich.
Polygonum acre Meisn.
Polygonum adoense Gand.
Polygonum azoricum H.C.Watson ex Meisn.
Polygonum decipiens R.Br.
Polygonum divaricatum Poir.
Polygonum erythropus Dammer
Polygonum flaccidum Roxb.
Polygonum glabrum Roxb.
Polygonum glabrum Roxb. ex D.Don
Polygonum leuconeuron Peter
Polygonum macrochaetum Miq.
Polygonum minus Ten.
Polygonum minus decipiens (R.Br.) Danser
Polygonum rapte Ham. ex Hook.f.
Polygonum rubicundum Sol. ex Meisn.
Polygonum salicifolium Brouss. ex Willd.
Polygonum scabrum Poir.
Polygonum serrulatoides H.Lindb.
Polygonum serrulatum Lag.
Polygonum sinuatum R.Br.
Polygonum strictum Meisn.
Persicaria decipiens is a slender, weak-stemmed annual plant with stems up to 120cm long that can be erect or grow along the ground, rooting at the nodes[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine.
The plant has spread widely from its original range, becoming a weed in many parts of the world from the temperate to the tropical zones. The plant spreads by means of its seeds - these float and can be distributed by water; they can become a contaminant in feed and crop seeds; or can be eaten and excreted by animals[
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[
S. Europe; throughout Africa; eastern Mediterranean; Arabia; through southeast Asia to northern Australia
Wet places and river banks in S. Europe[
]. Damp places, often growing in water, in swamps, at elevations from sea level to 2,400 metres[
].Often associated with Cyperus latifolius, it grows in black humid clay in or near water[
Species in this genus generally succeed in an ordinary garden soil, whilst preferring a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[
]. They generally rpays generous treatment[
Most plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. The young leaves and shoots are chopped, boiled and served with a staple food such as rice[
]. The cooked leaves are slimy, coarse and not very popular - they are mainly eaten as a famine food, being used only when better foods are not available[
The plant is burnt and the ashes are used as a salt substitute[
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 ash obtained after burning the plant is licked in order to treat sore throat and tonsillitis[
A decoction of the pounded leaves is used as a purgative[
The leaves are crushed and rubbed into the skin as a remedy for skin diseases and syphilitic sores[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy.