The bistort plants is also known as meadow bistort, serpent grass, alpine bistort, or viviparous knotweed (among many others), actually the bistort plant is commonly found in mountainous meadows, moist grasslands and swampy areas throughout much of the western United States and most of Canada – primarily at elevations of two thousand to thirteen thousand feet (600-3,900 m.). The bistort plants are a member of the buckwheat plant family. Although the plant is sometimes found as far east as New England, it is less common in those areas. Continue reading to learn more about this native plant.


 Bistort Plants Info

The scientific name of the Bistort plant is Bistorta officinalis and the plant consists of a long, sparsely leafed stems growing from short, thick s-shaped rhizomes, thus lending to the various Latin (sometimes placed in the genus Polygonum or Persicaria) and the common names associated with it. The plant stems bear a spike of tiny, pink/purple or white flowers in midsummer depending on the species. The Bistort plant flowers rarely produce seeds and the plant reproduces by tiny bulbs that develop in the axils of the leaves.


How to Grow Bistort Flowers

The Bistort plant is suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones four through nine. Although the plant grows in partial shade or full sunlight in most areas, shade is preferred in hot climates. The soil for planting should be moist, rich, and well drained. You can add plenty of compost to the soil before planting. Bistort can be easily propagated by planting the seeds or bulbils directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed in late winter or early spring. You can also easily start the Bistort seeds indoors a few weeks ahead of time. You can also propagate bistort by dividing mature plants in early spring or autumn. The bistort plant care is very simple and the plants require very little attention. Make sure you water the bistort plants generously and don’t allow the soil to dry out. You can remove wilted flowers regularly to promote blooming throughout the season. You can pick bistort for bouquets as often as you like.

Bistort Uses

The Bistort plants are used as an ornamental plant, usually as a groundcover in boggy areas, along ponds, or in shady, moist areas. The Bistort plants are especially impressive when planted en masse. Actually the Native Americans cultivated bistort shoots, leaves, and roots are used as vegetables, often added to soups and stews or with meat. If it is ground into a poultice, the bistort leaves staunch bleeding. It also soothes boils and some other skin irritations. In some part of Europe the tender bistort leaves are incorporated into a pudding traditionally eaten at Easter.

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