I’m guessing that this is Persicaria maculosa, lady’s-thumb smartweed, but there are many similar species:

The flowers are attractive seen close up, but otherwise this plant really is weedy. I pull it up armfuls of it in my garden, year after year. It’s a native plant (if my ID is correct), I’ve read that Native Americans used it to cure poison ivy. Taken at high magnification and stacked.

10 thoughts on “Smartweed

  1. I learned to know smartweed as a member of the genus Polygonum. When I looked this up using the name you included, I found that Polygonum persicaria is a synonym. Apparently the taxonomists have been at it again.

    Anyway: the photo really shows one of the defining characteristics of this species: the closely-spaced, more numerous blooms than on the species I know. The Illinois wildflower site notes that “Lady’s Thumb (Persicaria maculosa) is probably the most common and adaptable smartweed in Illinois. It occurs in both wetland habitats and surprisingly dry habitats. I have even found small plants of this species flowering underneath the shade of lawn trees.”

  2. This is a magnificent image, Tom. I have a lesser species of smartweed running rampant in all the standing water in what used to be my yard, and I quite like it. It turns a delicate orange this time of year.

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