Common bistort, snakeroot, snakeweed or easter-ledges

Herbs profile

  • Latin Name: Persicaria bistorta
  • Persica: lat. peach, name due to similar shape in comparison
  • To: lat. twice
  • Tortus: lat. twisted, after the snake-shaped twisted rhizome
  • Family: Knotweed Family/Polygonaceae
  • Feed type: Herbs
Common bistort, snakeroot, snakeweed - Persicaria bistorta

Common bistort (Persicaria bistorta)

The common bistort is a plant species belonging to the family of the knotweed family (Polygonaceae). This species is also called the snake root, although the dragon root is also known under this name.

The bistord is a perennial herbaceous plant. It reaches growth heights of up to 100 cm. The unbranched stems originate from a strong, (snake-like) twisted rootstock. The basal leaves are up to 20 cm long and long stalked.

The base of the elongated egg-shaped basal leaves is truncated and then runs along the petiole as a slightly wavy wing seam. The stem leaves become increasingly smaller at the top and have a heart-shaped leaf base. The 4 to 5mm long, mostly pink flowers are grouped into dense, terminal false ears. The fruits are small, 4 to 5 mm long, strongly triangular nuts, which remain enclosed by the blossom shell.

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Occurrence common bistort

The common bistort is one of the typical species of moist, nutrient-rich (fatty) meadows from the lowest altitudes to the forest line. Especially in base- and nutrient-rich wet meadows thecommon bistort develops in masses.

Effect of common bistort

On the one hand it is regarded as a good fodder plant, on the other hand the nectar-rich flowers are frequently visited by bees and other insects. Young leaves and stems can be used as spinach-like wild vegetables.

The rootstock has mainly been used in folk medicine, e.g. as a remedy against snake bites. The reason for this is probably the snake-like twisted rhizome (signature theory). Today the rootstock is still occasionally used for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.


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