Friday, July 17, 2009

Pennsylvania Smartweed

There's a good deal of Pennsylvania Smartweed, Persicaria pensylvanica, around the lake and most of it likes to grow out of cracks between sidewalk and curbstone.

From A Manual of Weeds:

"A pest of lowland clover fields, as it ripens its earlier seeds about the time of clover cutting. Stems two to five feet tall, somewhat hard and woody when old, and of rather branching and sprawling habit, the lower part smooth but the topmost leaves and the flower- stalks set with gland-tipped hairs. Leaves two to ten inches long, lance-shaped, with short petioles; sheathing stipules smooth and thin. Flowers in short, crowded, erect spikes, cylindric, often blunt at the end, deep pink; they are frequently affected with a smut or fungus which turns the heads into a mass of purple spores, destroying the fruits so that "purplehead" is a benefit from the farmer's point of view."

Georgia, Ada Eljiva. A Manual of Weeds. New York, 1919. 100-1. Web. Google Book Search. 16 Jul 2009.

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