En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 06, 2012

From: West Grove, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: General Botany, Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is Bushy Knotweed carcinogenic from West Grove PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is the invasive Bushy Knotweed / PORA3 / Polygonum ramosissimum toxic to the extent that the spores are carcinogenic?

ANSWER:

Polygonum ramosissimum (Bushy knotweed) is native to and invasive in just about all of North America. We could find no evidence of its being toxic. If you follow that plant link you will see that we have very little information on the plant and no pictures. From the University of Wisconsin Plants of Wisconsin, here is a page with a picture and a little more information. From Flora of North America, here is a more scholarly discussion of the plant. Another article from the University of Michigan.

From the Nova Scotia Museum, we found an article The Poison Plant Patch. If you scroll down that page, you will find a list of carcinogens and co-carcinogens. None of them was Bushy Knotweed.

Since we were not having much luck getting information on that species of the Polygonum species, we found a non-native Polyganum avicular, that would not be in our Native Plant Database. It had some more information on medical uses of species of this genus. We thought that might be why you were interested in the toxicity of this one.

We tried once more to determine carcinogenic qualities of the plant. We searched on the genus name, Polygonum, and found this article on Medical Attributes of Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed), which may give you some more clues for your research. Otherwise, we found no indication that the North American native Polygonum ramosissimum (Bushy knotweed) had either toxic nor carcinogenic characteristics.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Planting a meadow garden in Pennsylvania
November 16, 2014 - I live in Saxonburg PA near Pittsburgh PA. I want to put a meadow garden in my back yard. We are building a home so there is no established yard yet just trees and weeds. Where do I start . What...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant plants for Paradise, California
January 23, 2009 - We are moving to a new home in Paradise, CA. What drought resistant plants do well in Paradise ? Thank you !!
view the full question and answer

Need Native Plants for Ditch Stabilization in Texarkana, Arkansas
September 14, 2010 - I live in Texarkana, Arkansas. I have a ditch near the street in my front yard that is approximately 90-100 ft. long. It gets full sun. There is a lot of clay and rocks in the ditch. I need to fin...
view the full question and answer

Native moss to fill in between flagstones
April 21, 2008 - I live in Houston and have a long, narrow flagstone path that runs along the east side of the house. I am looking for a native moss that can fill in between the flagstones and will tolerate morning su...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic plants for dog yard from Freeport PA
June 24, 2012 - I'm looking for wildlife-friendly native plants that aren't toxic to dogs. I have a place for some small shrubs and/or flowers. And a climbing vine that I could train on a trellis would work espec...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center