(Wild)flowery Friday: marsh smartweed.


Back in September, I came across this water-loving marsh smartweed (Polygonum amphibium var. emersum) along the recently-flooded shoreline of Beaver Mines Lake in southwestern Alberta.  It’s not a plant I was previously familiar with, but I did some searching and found that it is a member of the buckwheat family and a North American native, alongside a large number of other smartweeds. According to my reading, some smartweeds are considered invasive species in certain provinces and states, but none seem to appear on the Alberta list.  Do any smartweeds grow where you live?


  1. We certainly do have a variety of them in the UK. Lots of gardeners see them as weeds but I like them and find they work well in looser meadow plantings. They very wildlife friendly, too😉.

  2. We also have Polygonums here in Germany, but the native ones are not invasive. I do like the pink frothy flowers. I think the worst for spreading is Japanese Knotweed, which has been put under strict observation in the UK! I grow several Persicarias which used to be known as Polygonums, but are also quite harmless. 🙂

  3. In the 90’s when I was a hort student at Olds College, we had to do a plant collection. I was from North Battleford, SK and I found this plant along the river banks of the North Saskatchewan river.

  4. We have them up and down the east coast of the US. They have a taller form than this plant and a longer flower form. They are pretty–I have seen them along river banks and on the shores of Lake Champlain. Nothing quite like this one, though!

  5. As Cathy says, we have a number of polygonums and persicarias in Britain and most of them are ignored and thought of as insignificant weeds. Japanese Knotweed is a terrible problem though but many people still wouldn’t recognise it. Locally to me I have seen Redshank (Persicaria maculosa), Pale Persicaria (Persicaria lapathifolia) and Knotgrass (Polygonum arenastrum). I am looking for a Polygonum to grow in my garden. Look at these! http://www.bethchatto.co.uk/o-r/persicaria-polygonum/

  6. Smartweed is a real pest in the neighborhood I’m in now, although I never saw it in any of my previous gardens which were all less than 15 miles away. It may be because the soil in my former gardens was more well drained and less acid. But it is a terrible nuisance here.

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