Amblygonum orientale (L.) Nakai
Goniaticum solitarium Stokes
Heptarina orientalis (L.) Raf.
Lagunea cochinchinensis Lour.
Lagunea orientalis (L.) Nakai
Persicaria cochinchinensis (Lour.) Kitag.
Persicaria schroeteriana (Danser) Soják
Polygonum altissimum Moench
Polygonum amoenum Blume
Polygonum cochinchinense (Lour.) Meisn.
Polygonum cordobense Lindau
Polygonum hirtum Willd. ex Spreng.
Polygonum orientale L.
Polygonum pilosum Roxb. ex Wall.
Polygonum schroeterianum Danser
Polygonum spaethii Dammer
Polygonum subcordatum Miq.
Polygonum torquatum Bruijn
Reynoutria spaethii (Dammer) Moldenke
Common Name: Prince's Feather
Persicaria orientalis is an erect, robust annual plant with stems that are much branched above; it can growaround 100 - 200cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is sometimes cultivated in southeast Asia for its sour-tasting young shoots and fruits[
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[
E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Russian Far East, eastern China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Indo-China, New Guinea, Australia
Roadsides, near houses and wastelands, also commonly cultivated in gardens; at elevations from sea level to 3,000 metres[
Plants are not very hardy in Britain but can be grown as a half-hardy annual[
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[
Young shoots - cooked. The young shoots are a standard vegetable in Indo-China[
]. A sour flavour[
Seed - cooked[
]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize.
The plant is a good tonic and vulnerary[
The flowers are said to thin the blood, remove obstructions and ease pain[
The leafy stems are used in the treatment of hernias[
A decoction of the ripe fruits is used in the treatment of hepatitis, sloughing ulcers, tympanites and cancer[
The seed is said to relieve flatulence, fevers and thirst, brighten the eyes and benefit the breath[
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.