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Persicaria bistorta (L.) Samp.

Family - Polygonaceae

Common Name - Common Bistort

 

Native 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Description

An erect, perennial with attractive pink flowers, in a tight cylindrical inflorescence. The basal leaves have a long petiole, while the stem leaves are sessile. The upper part of the petiole has a narrow wing of leaf tissue.

The plant grows from a stout creeping rhizome, which spreads to create dense patches.

The Lake District is perhaps the best place to find this species. It was a popular food plant there, being the principal ingredient in Dock Pudding. This pudding has several other names such as Easter Ledges and Easter Herb Pudding. It is apparently easy to make, though I've not tried it myself. The spring leaves are quickly cooked with boiling water, then strained. These are mixed with an egg, a hard boiled egg, butter, salt and pepper. The whole mixture is then placed in a pudding bowl to set. It is eaten as an accompaniment to meat.

Habitats
Grassland
Meadow
Roadsides
Deciduous woodland
Hedgerows
Inflorescence of Persicaria bistorta
© Quentin GroomBasal leaf` of Persicaria bistorta
© Quentin Groom
Habitat Notes

Damp grassy places, such as roadsides, meadows and hedgerows. It frequently escapes from cultivation so may often be found close to houses.

Life History
Perennial
UK distribution

Scattered throughout Britain, but most frequent in northern England, west of the Pennines. (See Map)

Flowering Time

In flower during June, July, August and September.

Fruit

The fruit is an achene.

Flower

The flower is actinomorphic

Names in other languages and countries

Germany
Schlangen-Knöterich
Spain
Bistorta

Latin Synonyms


Polygonum bistorta

Other British Names


Snakeweed
Red Legs
Poor Man's Cabbage
Pencuir Kale
Gentle Dock
Easter Ledges
Easter Giant
Meeks
Adderwort