En EspaŅol
Polygonum bistortoides (American bistort) | NPIN

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
See a list of all Plants

Polygonum bistortoides (American bistort)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Polygonum bistortoides

Polygonum bistortoides Pursh

American bistort, Western Bistort

Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Synonym(s): Bistorta bistortoides, Persicaria bistortoides, Polygonum bistortoides var. linearifolium, Polygonum bistortoides var. oblongifolium, Polygonum cephalophorum, Polygonum glastifolium, Polygonum vulcanicum

USDA Symbol: pobi6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

At tops of slender, erect, reddish stems bloom dense white or pale pink flower clusters.

One of the most common mountain wildflowers, sometimes covering meadows with thousands of clusters of white flowers. The stout roots were once prepared by Native Americans for food. Young leaves may be cooked as greens.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: Western Canada southward to southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Native Habitat: Moist mountain meadows or along mountain streams.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Polygonum bistortoides is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mountain Fritillary
(Boloria alaskensis)
Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1995 VOL. 12, NO.5 - Water Recycling Utilizing Architecture at the Wildflower Center, Education Direc...

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Polygonum bistortoides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Polygonum bistortoides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Polygonum bistortoides


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back

© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center