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 General Botany Questions

Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
January 09, 2013 - Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Hypogon
March 22, 2005 - How many sides does a hypogon have?
view the full question and answer

Plants adding calcium to soil
June 08, 2006 - Hi, I am looking for a resource to help determine the functions of native plants. For instance, nitrogen fixing can be found in Indigo, Lead plant, lupines. Are there other plants that add back cal...
view the full question and answer

School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
October 18, 2013 - Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
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