Lady's-Thumb

Polygonum persicaria

Family: Smartweed or Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae)

Petal Arrangement: The Lady's Thumb is characterized by dense clusters of many small flowers. These many small flowers form an oval which comes together at a point at the tip. Because these flower clumps are so tight the flower as a whole stands up very straight.

Color: Flowers are pink or white.

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves of the Lady's Thumb are very useful in identifying this plant from other members of the Smartweed family. In the center of each leaf is a dark rather large spot. The leaves of the Lady's Thumb are alternate, lance-shaped and hairless. The stalk of the plants stands very straight. It is sometimes reddish in color and a thin sheath covers each joint on the stalk. The tops of these sheaths are encircled by many thin straight hairs.

Size, Location, Season: Lady's Thumb grows between 15-60 cm. (6-24 in.). It can be found along roadsides, waste places and fields throughout Northeastern U.S. June-October.

** Found at Brandeis University near Bassine Biology building in late September

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