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Lady’s Thumb
Polygonaceae
Polygonum persicaria


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb



Polygonaceae Family

Polygonum Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Lady’s Thumb Smartweed, Red leg, Knotweed, Tear-thumb, Pennsylvania Smartweed


Location

Lady’s thumb originated inEurope, and is now distributed throughout the United States.

Physical Description
: Leaves: Arranged alternately along the stem, lanceolate to elliptic in outline, approximately 2 to 6 inches long and 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 which resembles the mark of a lady's thumb, thus the name of this weed.
Roots small and usually pink in color but can occasionally be white. Fibrous roots with a shallow taproot
Fruit: A black achene:
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 ladysthumb have stiff hairs arising from the top of the ocrea, which are approximately 2 mm long.
Flowers: Flowers are clustered in terminal spikes at the ends of stems. Individual flowers are.



Compare Species
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Polygonaceae
Caryophyllales
Caryophyllales
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Medicinal Uses: Cherokee Drug (Analgesic): Decoction mixed with meal and used as poultice for pain. (Dermatological Aid): Crushed leaves rubbed on poison ivy. (Urinary Aid): Infusion taken for "gravel."
Chippewa Drug (Analgesic): Decoction of leaves and flowers taken for stomach pain. (Gastrointestinal Aid): Simple or compound decoction of flowers and leaves taken for stomach pain.
Iroquois Drug (Antirheumatic (External): Decoction of plant used as a foot and leg soak for rheumatism. (Heart Medicine): Plant used for heart trouble.
The leaves are astringent, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. An infusion has been used as a treatment for gravel and stomach pains. A decoction of the plant, mixed with flour, has been used as a poultice to help relieve pain. A decoction of the plant has been used as a foot and leg soak in the treatment of rheumatism. The crushed leaves have been rubbed on poison ivy rash
Food Uses: Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked. They contain about 1.9% fat, 5.4% pectin, 3.2% sugars, 27.6% cellulose, 1% tannin.
Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.
Other Notes: A yellow dye is obtained from the plant when alum is used as a mordant



Lady’s Thumb




Lady’s Thumb


Comment: Lady’s Thumb, Polygonum persicaria

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