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Polygonum arifolium

Polygonum arifolium L.

Persicaria arifolia (L.) Harolds.

Polygonum arifolium L. var. lentiforme Fernald & Grisc.

Polygonum arifolium L. var. pubescens (Keller) Fernald

Tracaulon arifolium (L.) Raf.

Halberd-leaved Tearthumb

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyPolygonaceaeKnotweed or smartweed family
GenusPolygonumGreek poly, “many,” and gonu, “knee,” for the swollen jointed stems
Speciesarifolium

About plant names...

Halberd-leaved tearthumb is a rather strange-sounding name. “Halberd-leaved,” for its leaves’ resemblance to a rather nasty ancient weapon; “tearthumb,” for the backward-pointing barbs on its stems. The plant is native to eastern North America.

Identification: This vinelike plant has weak stems that are green, pink or red, with many tiny backward-pointing barbs used to support it as it grows over other plants. Plants may be 24-48" (60-121 cm) long. Leaves are shaped like arrowheads, except that the backward-pointing barbs point outward (technically, “hastate”). Leaves are hairy, 4-4½" (10-11 cm) long. Flowerheads are less than ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, white to light pink in color. Each rounded flowerhead consists of 5-20 individual flowers at the end of a long stem, which emerges from a leaf node. Seeds are rounded reddish-brown nutlets about ⅛" (3.2 mm) around.

 

Polygonum arifolium (Halberd-leaved Tearthumb)

8/30/2007 · By User:SB_Johnny

Polygonum arifolium (Halberd-leaved Tearthumb)

Halberd-leaved tearthumb and its namesake, a halberd from 14th-16th century Sweden.

These similar species are most easily distinguished by leaf shape:

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Polygonum arifolium

Polygonum sagittatum
Common Name

Halberd-leaved Tearthumb

Arrow Tearthumb
Flowers Flowerheads are less than ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, white to light pink, with 5-20 individual flowers at the end of a long stem Flowerheads are less than ⅜" (1 cm) in diameter, white to pink in color. Each rounded flowerhead consists of 5-20 individual flowers at the end of a long stem.
Leaves Leaves are shaped like arrowheads, except that the backward-pointing barbs point outward (technically, “hastate”). Leaves are hairy, 4-4½" (10-11 cm) long Shaped like narrow arrowheads, attached via short ⅜" (1 cm) stems. The base of each leaf tends to wrap around the stem. Leaf edges also have tiny prickles.
Stem Vine has weak stems that are green, pink or red, with many tiny backward-pointing barbs, 24-48" (60-121 cm) long Stems 3-6' (91-182 cm) long, green, pink, or red, hollow, vinelike, with squared edges and tiny, backward-pointing prickles.
Fruit Seeds are rounded reddish-brown nutlets about ⅛" (3.2 mm) around Small nutlets, brown to black.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Marshes, swamps, wet meadows Wet, marshy ground
Type Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Polygonum arifolium on Missouriplants.com

Polygonum arifolium on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Polygonum arifolium on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Polygonum arifolium at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Polygonum arifolium at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Polygonum arifolium description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.

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Range:

About this map...