En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

USDA Hardiness Zones
January 22, 2015 - Some natives are listed as ZONE 3 - 7. Would they be ok in zone 9. I thought the zones related to cold hardiness. What does the higher number mean, exactly?
view the full question and answer

Determining male/female wax myrtles
March 06, 2009 - We are planning to use Wax Myrtle as a screen plant, and want to be sure that we are successful in having berries for the birds. We have read that berries are only on the female plants. When we aske...
view the full question and answer

Native plant initiatives for universities in Southeast U.S.
April 26, 2005 - Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in botany at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. I am a native plant enthusiast and would like to promote n.p.'s on campus. Do you kn...
view the full question and answer

Which plants grow well together
April 17, 2009 - Please tell me what plants grow best together and which plants do not grow very good together
view the full question and answer

What are the differences between Arbutus xalapensis, A. unedo and A. marina
August 29, 2013 - One nursery lists madrone trees as arbutus uneda compacta and arbutus marina. The other lists it as arbutus xalapensis, which is the only name I can find in the data base. There is a very large pric...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center