Tufted Knotweed: Polygonum
||Weed Description: A summer
annual weed of horticultural, agronomic, and nursery crops that may reach 3 1/2 feet in
Seedlings: Cotyledons are elliptic
to lanceolate in outline, whit hairs along the margins. First true leaves are
alternate, lanceolate in outline, and hairy on the upper surfaces.
|Roots: Fibrous roots with a
Fruit: A black
||Leaves: Arranged alternately
along the stem, lanceolate to elliptic in outline, approximately 3/4 to 3 inches long and
1/2 to 1 1/4 inches wide. Older leaves are usually only slightly hairy. Leaves
taper to short petioles, which have an ocrea that encircles the stem. Leaves often,
but not always, have a purple spot in the middle of the leaf.
|Flowers: Flowers are clustered
in terminal spikes at the ends of stems. Individual flowers are small and are dark
pink to red in color.
||Stems: Branched, often reddish in
color and swollen at the nodes. A thin membranous sheath called an ocrea encircles
the stem at the base of each leaf petiole. The ocrea's of tufted knotweed have stiff
hairs arising from the top of the ocrea, which are from 5 to 10 mm long.
Identifying Characteristics: The elliptic to lanceolate leaves with
a purple spotted 'lady's thumb' print in the middle and distinctive ocrea with stiff hairs
are all characteristics that help to distinguish tufted knotweed from other similar
weeds. Pennsylvania Smartweed (Polygonum
pensylvanicum) is very similar in appearance and growth habit, but does not have
hairs on the ocrea like that of tufted knotweed. Ladysthumb
(Polygonum persicaria) is also similar in appearance and growth habit,
but has hairs on the ocrea that are much shorter (2 mm) than those of ladysthumb, and also
has generally smaller leaves and dark pink to red flowers.