Bistorta officinalis, commonly known as Bistort is a densely flowering perennial that produces upright spikes covered in delicate pink flowers, held above the bright green foliage. Preferring wet soils it is often grown as an ornamental garden plant in the edges of ponds or bog gardens. Needing little care, flowers can be deadhead once they have faded to improve the plant's appearance and prevent it from self-seeding itself around. Native to Europe, Northern and Western Asia, this native species has historically been classified as being part of the Polygonum or Persicaria genera, however, it is now recognised as belonging to Bistorta. Named for the twisted nature of its root.
How to harvest Bistort
Flowers can be cut for floral arrangements Seed collection - Allow seed-heads to ripen on the plant.
How to propagate Bistort
Lift and divide clumps in autumn or spring, replanting straight away.
Sow fresh seed into trays of compost undercover. Plant out seedlings after the last frost. This plant can self-seed, these can be transplanted into a more desirable position in the spring.
Special features of Bistort
Attracts useful insects
This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants that support pollinator populations by providing ample nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!
Other uses of Bistort
Ground cover, rock garden, wildflower/meadow, flower arranging
This plant has been cultivated as a vegetable. The young shoots, leaves and roots can be steamed or boiled. Used as an ingredient of Dock Pudding, a bitter pudding made for lent. The leaves are combined with Oatmeal, eggs and other herbs.
Containing tannic and gallic acids, the roots and leaves can be used to produce an astringent for the treatment of wounds.