Genus of the Week
Week of February 22-28
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
Number of Species: about 150
Root: From the Greek "poly", meaning many and "gonu", meaning joint, a reference to the
jointed stems of this genus which are typically surrounded by a thin leaf-like sheath.
A majority of species in the genus Polygonum are considered weeds, and several are
regarded as invasive, inlcuding the infamous P. cuspidatum (also known as Reynoutria
japonica, Fallopia japonica, and Japanese Knotweed). Growth forms range from
low-growing herbs to shrubby clusters at tall as 15 meters.
Here are some links to images and information for the genus Polygonum:
- The web site for Durham University's Botanical Garden has a photo of
P. bistorta, an ornamental
species in this genus.
- The Natural History of Hiroshima City web site has images of the folowing Polygonum
- The Nature Conservancy now has their Element Stewardship Abstracts available online. See
what they have to say about Japanese Knotweed,
- Go to The World of Scanning Electron Microscopy homepage to see a really cool
"pseudocolored" Scanning Electron Micrograph of a
pollen grain from an unknown Polygonum species (photo courtesy of Microscopy Today).
- Botanical.com has a searchable online version of Mrs. Greive's A Modern Herbal. Visit
this site to peruse the extensive herbal uses of the following 5 species:
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to
North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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