The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Curlytop Knotweed
Polygonum lapathifolium is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.75 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. S. Africa.
Swampy thickets, shores, damp clearings and cultivated fields in N. America[
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 leaves - raw or cooked[
Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.
The whole plant is antiseptic and astringent[
]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of stomach complaints and fevers[
The plant produces a soft white mass, a froth like that of soap. It is applied externally to burns[
The plant produces a soft white mass, a froth like that of soap. It is used for bathing and washing clothes[
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.