Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Erect annual herb up to ca 75cm tall, with reddish stems, willow-shaped leaves and long slender flower spikes with small white (greenish flowers).
Abundant in lowland regions of the North and South Islands.
Occurs on the edge of river banks and marshy areas, also occurring as a submerged plant in clear moderate flowing streams. Not usually grazed by livestock, especially cattle.
The leaves are bright green, without markings, they are narrrow and lance shaped with a wavy edge, and up to 12 cm long. There is a membranous sheath (ochrea) at the base of each leaf, that is fringed with short hairs. The inflorescence is slender and drooping, the small flowers occur on short stalks , they are pink or cream (rarely white to greenish white). The fruit is a dull, pitted, dark brown nut. The plant is burning (peppery) to taste
Distinguished from Persicaria decipiens when flowering by the yellow glands on the tepals of Persicaria hydropiper. The flower heads of P. decipiens are usually erect, and the leaves are dark green/red and often have dark blotches on them; it also lacks the peppery flavour of P. hydropiper
Spreads by seed dispersed by water or waterfowl.
Temperate Eurasia, North Africa
Reason for introduction
Unknown, possibly a seed contaminant
Not controlled in New Zealand.
persicaria: Medieval name referring to the likeness of the leaves to a peach tree
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA).
References and further reading
Johnson PN, Brooke PA (1989). Wetland plants in New Zealand. DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319pp.
Popay et al (2010). An illustrated guide to common weeds of New Zealand, third edition. NZ Plant Protection Society Inc, 416pp.
Coffey BT, Clayton JS (1988). New Zealand water plants: a guide to plants found in New Zealand freshwaters. Ruakura Agricultural Cente. 65pp.