Persicaria hydropiperoides

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Common Names: Swamp smartweed,[1] Waterpepper[2]

Persicaria hydropiperoides
Persicaria hydropiperoides SEF.jpg
Photo by John Gwaltney hosted at Southeastern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicots
Order: Polygonales
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria
Species: P. hydropiperoides
Binomial name
Persicaria hydropiperoides
Natural range of Persicaria hydropiperoides from Weakley.[3]

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: Polygonum hydropiperoides Michaux; Polygonum hydropiperoides var. hydropiperoides; Polygonum hydropiperoides var. breviciliatum; Polygonum hydropiperoides var. euronotorum Fernald; Polygonum hydropiperoides var. opelousanum (Riddell ex Small) Riddell ex W. Stone; Polygonum opelousanum Riddell; Persicaria opelousana (Riddell ex Small) Small.[2]

Varieties: none.[2]


P. hydropiperoides is a perennial forb/herb of the Polygonaceae family that is native to North America.[1] It is a rhizomatous perennial that often forms mats. The stems are terrete, with a glabrous or strigose texture, and ends that become erect and floriferous. The leaves are 5-10 cm long and 0.5-2 cm wide with a strigose texture. The base is cuneate, the petioles are 1-5 mm long, and the ocrea are 1 cm long. The nutlets are browns, lustrous, and trigonous.[2]


Persicaria hydropiperoides is native throughout the continental United States excepting Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, and has been introduced to Alaska. It is also found in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.[1]



P. hydropiperoides has a high tolerance for anaerobic conditions and fire, but has a low tolerance for drought. It also requires full sunlight, extremely intolerant to shade.[1]

Habitats for Persicaria hydropiperoides include edges of cypress pond, slash pine flatwoods, and wet swale near bayou.[4] This plant flowers from May through November.[2]

Seed bank and germination

Seeding begins in spring and lasts until the end of summer.[1]

Fire ecology

Populations of Persicaria hydropiperiodes have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[5]

Herbivory and toxicology

P. hydropiperoides has been observed to host planthoppers from the Delphacidae family such as Delphacodes puella and Pissonotus piceus and plant bugs from the Miridae family such as Lygus lineolaris and Pseudatomoscelis seriatus.[6]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

P. hydropiperoides is on the threatened list in Indiana and New York.[1]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 USDA Plant Database
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  3. Weakley, Alan S. 2015. Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States: Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 1320 pp.
  4. URL: Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: Richard Carter, Sidney McDaniel, Randy Haynes, Michael B. Brooks) States and counties: Georgia (Brantley) Mississippi (Pearl River, Jackson)
  5. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  6. [1]