Persicaria perfoliata

(Linnaeus) H. Gross

Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 37(2): 113. 1919.

Common names: Devil’s-tail or giant climbing tearthumb mile-a-minute weed
Basionym: Polygonum arifolium var. perfoliatum Linnaeus Syst. Nat. ed. 10, 2: 1006. 1759
Synonyms: Polygonum perfoliatum (Linnaeus) Linnaeus
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 5. Treatment on page 577. Mentioned on page 576.

Plants annual, 10–20(–70) dm; roots not also arising from proximal nodes. Stems scandent, ribbed, glabrous, often glaucous; prickles 0.5–1 mm. Leaves: ocrea green, plane to broadly funnelform, 9–14 mm, at least some foliaceous, base inflated or not, without prickles, margins oblique, eciliate, surface glabrous, glaucous; petiole 4.5–8 cm; blade triangular, 4–7 × 4.5–9 cm, base truncate to cordate, usually peltate, margins entire, sparsely retrorsely prickly, apex acuminate, faces glabrous, usually glaucous abaxially. Inflorescences capitate or spikelike, uninterrupted, 5–12 × 5–10 mm; peduncle 10–50 mm, retrorsely prickly; ocreolae overlapping, margins eciliate. Pedicels mostly ascending, 1–3 mm. Flowers 1–3 per ocreate fascicle; perianth greenish white, glabrous, accrescent, becoming fleshy and blue in fruit; tepals 5, connate to ca. 1/3 their length, broadly elliptic, 2–3.5 mm, apex acute to obtuse; stamens (6–)8, filaments distinct, free; anthers pinkish, ovate; styles 3, connate proximally. Achenes included, black or reddish black, spheroidal, 3–3.5 × 3–3.5 mm, shiny, smooth.

Phenology: Flowering Jun–Oct.
Habitat: Thickets, streams banks, pastures, forest edges, roadsides, railroad embankments, other moist, disturbed sites
Elevation: 0-300 m


V5 1179-distribution-map.gif

Introduced; Conn., Del., D.C., Md., Miss., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., Va., W.Va., Asia.


Persicaria perfoliata is an aggressive, fast-growing pest in its native range and in North America. At least some introductions appear to be through the nursery trade (J. C. Hickman and C. S. Hickman 1978; R. E. Riefener 1982). It was collected once in 1954 in British Columbia, but that population did not persist.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

... more about "Persicaria perfoliata"
Harold R. Hinds† +  and Craig C. Freeman +
(Linnaeus) H. Gross +
Polygonum arifolium var. perfoliatum +
Devil’s-tail or giant climbing tearthumb +  and mile-a-minute weed +
Conn. +, Del. +, D.C. +, Md. +, Miss. +, N.J. +, N.Y. +, Ohio +, Oreg. +, Pa. +, R.I. +, Va. +, W.Va. +  and Asia. +
0-300 m +
Thickets, streams banks, pastures, forest edges, roadsides, railroad embankments, other moist, disturbed sites +
Flowering Jun–Oct. +
Beih. Bot. Centralbl. +
Introduced +
Polygonum perfoliatum +
Persicaria perfoliata +
Persicaria sect. Echinocaulon +
species +