American and Asian Jumpseed in North America

American Jumpseed, Persicaria virginiana

Asian Jumpseed, Persicaria filiformis (photo by Reuven Martin)

Persicaria virginiana (L.) Gaertn. American Jumpseed is a perennial herb to 1.5 m tall, from knotty rhizomes; stems are erect, slender and few-branched; ocreae strigose or tomentose, the apices ciliate; leaf blades ovate, 5–17 × 2–10 cm, reduced apically, the bases rounded, the apices acute to acuminate, strigose above and below, the margins setose; inflorescences to 45 cm long, very slender; flowers solitary or 2–3 per ocreolate fascicle; tepals 4, white, greenish white or rarely pink; achenes brown with hooked, persistent style. 2n=44.

The species is found across the eastern United States (and southern Canada), east of the 100th meridian, from southern Minnesota to Texas and Quebec to Florida, disjunct in central Mexico; found in rich deciduous forests, floodplain forests, dry woodlands, thickets; flowering July to October.

Synonyms include Polygonum virginianum, Tovara virginiana, Antenoron virginianum, Tovara virginiana f. rubra, Tovara virginiana var. glaberrima

The deflexed pedicels are under strong tension and when disturbed can propel the fruit 3–4 m from the plant (hence the name Jumpseed). The persistent hooked styles aid in animal dispersal. The plants are easy to recognize when young by the relatively large, ovate leaves and often very prominent maroon chevron that disappears as the leaves age. Small flies, bees and wasps are observed visiting the flowers and Robber Flies use the plants to hunt prey. Herbivory by Sawflies in the genus Allantus creates holes in the leaves (

Persicaria filiformis (Thunb.) Nakai, Asian Jumpseed is sister to the American Jumpseed. They may share a common ancestor, but millenia of isolation, drifting continents and changing vegetation patterns caused the two species to diverge genetically, anatomically and chemically. But some taxonomists don't consider these differences enough to divide the species and treat them as two varieties of one species or just one species (under the oldest name, Persicaria virginiana). The one-species concept prevailed several decades ago and is often used in older literature and in the horticulture trade. Today there is ample data from multiple lines of evidence and strong support for separating the two as distinct species (Park et al., 1992; Mun & Park, 1995; Suh et al., 1997).

Cultivars of the Asian Persicaria filiformis ‘Painter’s Palette’, ‘Lance Corporal’, ‘Variegata’ and ‘Bat Wings’ are escaping from cultivation in the eastern United States and becoming naturalized. These introduced, artificial hybrids may interbreed with the indigenous Persicaria virginiana, eroding its genetic integrity and possibly compromising fitness and survival of this important indigenous American plant. The aggressive growth of the Asian Jumpseed also threatens other biodiversity by forming large, monocultural stands that crowd out other species.

Morphologically, Persicaria filiformis and its cultivars can be distinguished by the elliptic leaves that are widest at or above the middle and with persistent purple markings, whereas Persicaria virginiana has ovate leaves, widest below the middle and purple markings only on young leaves.

I recommend supporting the indigenous species and all its ecological benefits and removing the cultivar wherever found.

Suh, Y., S. Kim and C.W. Park. 1997. A phylogenetic study of Polygonum sect. Tovara (Polygonaceae) based on ITS sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA. Journal of Plant Biology 40: 47–52.

Park, CW., M.G. Lee and H. Shin. 1992. A systematic study of Polygonum sect. Tovara (Polygonaceae): analysis of morphological variation. Korean Journal of Botany 35: 385–392.

Mun, J.H. and C.W. Park. 1995. Flavonoid chemistry of Polygonum sect. Tovara (Polygonaceae): a systematic survey. Plant Systematics and Evolution 196: 153–159.

Please notify me at if you find the Asian Jumpseed and any of its cultivars like 'Painter's Palette', 'Lance Corporal', 'Variegata' or 'Bat Wings' growing wild in North America, apart from a planted population— especially in natural areas. Thank you.

Posted on 26 באוקטובר, 2020 16:40 by danielatha danielatha


Should I go ahead and pull out Persicaria filiformis when I find it in a park?

פורסם על-ידי susanhewitt לפני יותר מ 2 שנים (סמן)

Thanks for the head up. I'll have to be more diligent about identifying P. virginiana in Missouri.

פורסם על-ידי lfelliott לפני יותר מ 2 שנים (סמן)

@susanhewitt Thanks for asking. If you see some that look spontaneous (not planted), please let me know before removal.

פורסם על-ידי danielatha לפני יותר מ 2 שנים (סמן)

I think that what I see is usually planted.

פורסם על-ידי susanhewitt לפני יותר מ 2 שנים (סמן)
פורסם על-ידי ken-potter לפני יותר מ 2 שנים (סמן)

You are kidding me about this weed. "jumpseed"I have been pulling it from my yard forever!!!!!
Violet Stailey

פורסם על-ידי violetstailey לפני כמעט 2 שנים (סמן)

@danielatha is there any difference in the flowers? I did notice native bees visiting the plants here, I had assumed they were P. virginiana I'm pretty sure the chevrons faded later in the year but now you have me worried.

פורסם על-ידי surfman לפני בערך 1 שנים (סמן)

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