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japanse duizendknoop - polygonum cuspidatum - blad en bloeiwijze

Knotweed, Japanese, Reynoutria japonica

Japanese knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum or Reynoutria japonica, is a plant that not everyone is enthusiastic about. In many articles about knotweed, you will find terms like “aggressive proliferator”, “invasive“, “destroy” and “combat”. I am less harsh towards this plant. I believe that if we knew what we could do with it, we would be less averse to it. That is why Japanese knotweed gets the place it deserves in this vademecum.
Maybe you know the saying ‘if you can’t beat it, eat it’? Well, that definitely goes for this plant. Parts of Japanese knotweed are edible. This family member of rhubarb is a treat for humans and animals. If we were to enjoy this fact a little more, we could embrace Japanese knotweed and make use of its other properties as well.

Healing effects of Japanese knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum or Reynoutria japonica

When it comes to its medicinal properties, Japanese knotweed is becoming increasingly more and more interesting. We already knew that it has a strong antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antitumoral and phytoestrogenic effect. But it is now becoming clearer and clearer that it can be used against Lyme disease and other persistent bacterial infections with devastating consequences.

Magical properties of Japanese knotweed

Magically speaking, Japanese Knotweed is interesting for binding rituals in the broadest sense of the word, whether it concerns something or someone. You can also use it to drive unwanted entities out of a person or building and distinguish friend from foe. All in all, in this chapter I hope to show you another side of Japanese Knotweed, that of an ally rather than a pest.

Botanical description Knotweed, Reynoutria japonica

Japanese Knotweed is a strong proliferator. It spreads through a fast-growing root system, consisting of rhizomes and offshoots, which is extremely difficult to remove. The smallest piece of root will irrevocably spread again and grow into a large bush. The sprouts that grow from the rhizomes are powerful and can even push through asphalt. In that respect, I can imagine locations where you would want to keep knotweed well in check.
The sprouts develop into hollow stems that can reach several metres in height. The stem consists of green-red internodes, which are stem parts that are connected by what looks like knots, the so-called nodes, just like bamboo. At the nodes, the leaves are located, placed on petioles. Those leaves are 10 to 15 cm long, deltoid to ovoid in shape. The leaf base is quite straight. They are pinnate and acute at the end.
Clusters of white trumpet-shaped flowers grow at the end of the stems. The peduncle is clearly recognisable by the ochrea at the bottom of the stem. The flowers have six petals, which are grouped in two groups of three. The stamens have red anthers. The seed has a rather characteristic shape because two petals remain attached to it. The seed itself is dark in colour.

Interesting facts

Japanese Knotweed is often called unwanted and invasive. However, in Japan, the country after which this plant is named, they know just what to do with it. Over there, this plant is a popular food.

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