Botterblom Nature Reserve – Oriental lady’s thumb- 4

Persicaria longiseta is a species of flowering plant in the knotweed family known by the common names Oriental lady’s thumb, bristly lady’s thumb, Asiatic smartweed, long-bristled smartweed, low smartweed, Asiatic waterpepper, bristled knotweed, bunchy knotweed, and tufted knotweed. It is native to Asia (China, India, Russia, Japan, Malaysia, etc.), and it is present in North America and Europe as an introduced species and often a weed.


The Oriental lady’s thumb is an annual herb with stems 30 to 80 centimeters (12–32 inches) long, sometimes reaching one meter (40 inches). The hairless, branching stems may root at lower nodes that come in contact with the substrate. The leaves are lance-shaped and up to 8 centimeters (3.2 inches) long by 3 cm (1.2 inches) wide. They have bristly ochrea. The inflorescence is an elongated cluster up to 8 centimeters (3.2 inches) long and contains many pink flowers. The fruit is a small, smooth achene.


It grows in moist habitat types such as wetlands, as well as dry and upland habitat. It can be found in meadows, marshes, mudflats, riverbanks, floodplains, levees, and lowland and upland forests. It is invasive in some areas.

Medicinal Uses:

Several Native American nations used the leaves in treatments of stomach pains and poison ivy. They also rubbed the plant on their horses as an insect repellant. It is traditionally used in poultices to relieve rheumatic pain, to heal wounds, to arrest bleeding or in infusion to help relieve stomach ache.

Oriental lady’s thumb, Persicaria longiseta, Botterblom Nature Reserve, Durbanville, South Africa

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