Persicaria orientalis (Prince's Feather)

Plant Info
Also known as: Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate
Genus:Persicaria
Family:Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Asia
Habitat:sun; average to moist disturbed soil; waste places, river banks, fields, gardens
Bloom season:June - October
Plant height:2 to 8 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FAC NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: spike

[photo of flower clusters] Densely packed spikes 1 to 4 inches long at the tips of branching stems at the top of the plant and from the upper leaf axils; spikes may be erect to ascending but are more often drooping or nodding. Flowers are about 1/8 inch across, deep rose pink to purplish-red with 5 petals. In the center are 6 to 8 pink stamens surrounding a greenish ovary with 2 styles at the tip. Cluster stalks are up to 2 inches long, ascending to spreading and covered in spreading hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate, 2½ to 10 inches long and 1 to 6½ inches wide, toothless with a fringe of short hairs around the edges, egg to teardrop to heart-shaped, pointed or abruptly tapering to a pointed tip, heart-shaped to wedge-shaped at the base, on hairy stalks. The upper surface is hairless to sparsely hairy and lacks the dark spot common on related species; the lower leaf surface is more densely hairy on both the surface and veins.

[photo of ocrea] At the base of the leaf stalk is a showy, green to brownish, funnel-shaped sheath (ocrea) that surrounds the stem. The ocrea is distinctly ribbed along its length, the ribs mostly green but often reddish purple at the base, and the tip end more leaf-like and flaring. The surface is moderately to densely hairy and the tip fringed with hairs 1 to 3 mm long. Stems are erect, unbranched or branched on the upper stem, hairy in the upper plant and into the flowering branches, more sparsely hairy in the lower plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

Fruit is a dry seed, 2.5 to 3.5 mm long, shiny or dull, smooth, flattened disc-shaped, dark brown to black.

Notes:

The non-native Prince's Feather, also known as Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (cute, eh?), has been reported only twice in Minnesota, both in the late 1800s. Wisconsin has recorded it about 20 times in scattered locations across the southern half of the state, but it is more widely established as a garden-escapee in New England. While the flowers are much the same as other pink-flowered Persicaria species, it should be easy to recognize if encountered: the large, broad leaves, showy ocreae, and non-glandular hairy stems and leaves should readily distinguish it. It can also grow much taller than most other species; the garden plant we photographed was easily 7 feet tall, probably more.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden in Hennepin County.

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