An extract on #smokeweed
Bistorta bistortoides is distributed throughout the Mountain West in North America from Alaska and British Columbia south into California and east into the Rocky Mountains.
Bistorta bistortoides grows from foothills to above the timberline, although plants growing above 7,500 feet (2250 m) are smaller and seldom reach more than 12 inches (30 cm) in height. Plants in other areas may reach over half a meter-1.5 feet (20-60 cm) tall. The leaves are leathery and up to 40 centimeters (3 feet) long, and are mostly basal on the stem. The dense cylindrical to oblong inflorescence is packed with small white to pinkish flowers, each a few millimeters wide and with protruding stamens.
American bistort was an important food plant used by Native Americans living in the Mountain West, and the roots are edible either raw or fire-roasted with a flavor resembling chestnuts. The seeds can be dried and ground into flour and used to make bread. They were also roasted and eaten as a cracked grain.
The genus primarily grows in northern temperate regions. The species are very diverse, ranging from prostrate herbaceous annual plants under 5 cm (2 in) high to erect herbaceous perennial plants growing up to 34 m (1013 ft) tall to perennial woody vines growing up to 2030 m (6698 ft) high in trees. Several are aquatic, growing as floating plants in ponds. The smooth-edged leaves range from 130 cm (0.3911.81 in) long, and vary in shape between species from narrow lanceolate to oval, broad triangular, heart-shaped, or arrowhead forms. The stems are often reddish or red-speckled. The small flowers are, pink, white, or greenish, forming in summer in dense clusters from the leaf joints or stem apices.
The genus name is from the Greek poly = "many" and gonu = "knee" or "joint", in reference to the swollen jointed stem.
Polygonum species are occasionally eaten by humans, and are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species - see list. Most species are considered weedy, especially in moist soils in the USA.
Several species can be eaten cooked, for example during famines. The species Polygonum cognatum, known locally as "madimak", is regularly consumed in central parts of Turkey.
In Chinese medicine, a Polygonum extract called Rlnqng Kl () is used to treat urinary tract infections. Chinese medicine also uses a Polygonum multiflorum extract called Fo-Ti.
Care should be taken not to confuse Polygonum with Polygonatum - an entirely different genus of plants.