Bistort; Persicaria bistorta

I have been having trouble with Bistort, below is a photo I took in a friends garden, these specimens were growing in tall grass beside their pond, so in a semi natural situation but they could have originated form the garden center. The garden owners were not sure how they came to be there.


This next photo is of some I found growing in the wild in the White brook valley in Monmouthshire, they were in a quite dark area of a small nature reserve called Margarets Wood.



Somewhat different but is this the result of the conditions they were growing in or have I photographed two different varieties? According to the BSBI there are many garden escapes and they record all individuals, not attempting to differentiate between true native stock and garden escapes. So I wonder if the rather anorexic specimens growing in Margarets Wood are true wild stock and the bigger bolder plants that are often depicted on various web sites are more related to garden varieties??? Who knows.

This plant has a host of other common names some of which refer to Dock such as Gentle Dock, Passion dock, Pudding dock and Patience dock. The leaves look very similar to Dock, as you can see bellow.


The name Bistort comes from bis as in twice and torta for twisted as the root is supposed to twist round twice, this also links to another common name which is Snakeroot.

This plant is reasonably common, more so in the west of the country as you can see from the tetrad map again from the BSBI.


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