Smartweed

Mike Oxley

Cornwall Ontario, Canada

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Artist's Description

Polygonum Pensylvanicum.
Taken at Cooper’s Marsh Conservation Area, Lancaster, Ontario, Canada. September 2007.

This weed is an annual that reproduces by seed. Stems are branched, up to 80 cm (30 in.) tall and hairless. The leaves are stalked and tapering towards both ends. They are widest near the middle, up to 8 cm (6 in.) long and 1.5 cm (1/2 in.) wide. The lower leaves are hairless. Some of the leaves may have a reddish thumb print. The base of the leaf stalk has a papery sheath surrounding the stem. The sheath is hairless. The flowers are grouped into dense clusters at the ends of the stems and on short stalks arising from the bases of the upper leaves. The flowers are usually green.
Smartweed produces about 3,000 seeds per plant. It prefers to grow in moist soil conditions and is most common near ponds, dug-outs, and sloughs, especially in the parkland regions.
Humans, including the Europeans and Native Americans, do use the highly acidic smartweeds for internal and external medicine. In Mexico, it’s said that soaking in a smartweed bath relieves rheumatism

Artwork Comments

  • Vickie Emms
  • Mike Oxley
  • kalaryder
  • Mike Oxley
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