Persicaria bistorta

7 Jul

Persicaria bistorta (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Persicaria bistorta (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Well drained

Flowering period: Summer to early autumn

Eventual Height: 75cm

Eventual Spread: 90cm

Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Polygonaceae

Persicaria bistorta Flower (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Persicaria bistorta Flower (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Persicaria bistorta is an evergreen herbaceous perennial with a bushy habit. Its dark green leaves are narrowly ovate with entire margins and are up to 30cm long. Its pale pink flowers are funnel shaped and appear as dense spikes above the foliage and are up to 7cm long. Its roots are rhizomes which aids its spread.

Persicaria bistorta, commonly known as Bistort, Common Bistort or Adderwort, is native to Europe (including the UK) and north and west Asia.

The etymology of the binomial name Persicaria was a medieval name referring to the likeness of the leaves to a peach tree, Prunus persica. Bistorta is derived from the Latin bis meaning ‘twice’ and tortus meaning ‘twisted’, in reference to its roots.

Persicaria bistorta Leaf (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Persicaria bistorta Leaf (23/06/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Persicaria bistorta may be useful to the landscape architect as an effective low growing ground cover, particularly when planted en mas. It is suitable for planting on slopes or banks where low maintenance is required. This perennial is not attractive to deer or rabbits.

Ecologically, Persicaria bistorta flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the variety Persicaria bistorta ‘Surperba’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Persicaria bistorta prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate poorly drained soils.

Persicaria bistorta requires little to no maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in spring or autumn.

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