Persicaria punctata

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Persicaria punctata
Pers punc.jpg
Photo by Matthew Merritt, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta- Vascular plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Caryophyllanae
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria
Species: P. punctata
Binomial name
Persicaria punctata
(Elliott) Small
Pers punc dist.jpg
Natural range of Persicaria punctata from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Dotted smartweed

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Persicaria punctata (Elliott) Small var. punctata; Polygonum punctatum Elliott; Polygonum punctatum Elliott var. punctatum; Persicaria punctata (Elliott) Small var. leptostachya (Meisner) Small; Polygonum punctatum Elliott var. leptostachyum (Meisner) Small; Polygonum punctatum var. parvum Marie-Victorin & Rousseau; Polygonum punctatum Elliott var. confertiflorum (Meisner) Fassett

The species name punctata is derived from Latin, meaning dotted. This refers to the dotted glands of the flowers.[1]

There are three varieties which include: Persicaria punctata var. robustior, P. punctata var. ecilliata, and P. punctata var. tacubayana.[2]


A description of Persicaria punctata is provided in The Flora of North America.

"Annuals or perennials with lanceolate to elliptic leaves. Leaf base cuneate; ocreae with or without cilia. Flowers in racemes arranged paniculately at the apices of stems and branches. Sepals not, or only slightly enlarged in fruit. Nutlets trigonous, biconvex or lenticular." [3]

"Annual or rhizomatous perennial with erect, terete, glabrous or short-strigose stems. Leaves glabrous to short-strigose, 6-15 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, tapered to petioles 2-20 mm long; ocreae strigose, 1-2 cm long, cilia 1-8 mm long. Racemes straight or arching, densely to very loosely flowered. Calyx white or greenish, rarely tinged with red or pink, conspicuously glandular-punctate. Nutlets black, glossy, trigonous or biconvex, 2.5-3 mm long." [3]


P. punctata is found throughout most of the United States, it is one of the only native species of Persicaria. It is introduced instead of being native in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Hawaii.[4]



P. punctata is found in wet areas such as floodplain forests, swamps, seeps, pond shores, and drainage ditches.[5] In the Coastal Plain in Florida, P. punctata has been found in wet margins of wax myrtle thickets.[6] It prefers full to partial sun in mucky soil rich in organic matter and will tolerate shallow standing water.[5]


The blooming period occurs summer to fall and last around 1 to 2 months.[5] It has been observed blooming in September. [6]

Seed dispersal

The seeds are not adapted for dispersal other than floating in water, however, it is postulated to be transported by mud on the feet of water birds.[2]

Use by animals

The seeds are eaten by ducks and various songbirds.[5]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Historically, the Chippewa used the leaves and flowers to treat stomach pain, and the Houma used roots to treat joint pain.[7]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. [[1]]Plants of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Accessed: February 20, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 [[2]]Accessed: February 20, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 409-410. Print.
  4. [[3]] Wildflowers of the United States. Accessed: February 20, 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 [[4]]Illinois Wildflowers. Accessed: February 20, 2016
  6. 6.0 6.1 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: November 2015. Collectors: Cecil R. Slaughter. States and Counties: Florida: St. Johns, Volusia. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  7. [[5]]Go Botany. Accessed: February 20, 2016