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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Polygonaceae
Subfamilia: Polygonoideae
Tribus: Persicarieae
Subtribus: Koenigiinae
Genus: Bistorta
Species: B. abbreviata – B. abukumensis – B. affinis – B. albiflora – B. alopecuroides – B. amplexicaulis – B. attenuatifolia – B. bistortoides – B. burmanica – B. coriacea – B. diopetes – B. elliptica – B. emodi – B. griersonii – B. griffithii – B. hayachinensis – B. honanensis – B. incana – B. jaljalensis – B. krascheninnikovii – B. longispicata – B. ludlowii – B. macrophylla – B. manshuriensis – B. milletii – B. milletioides – B. ochotensis – B. officinalis – B. paleacea – B. perpusilla – B. plumosa – B. purpureonervosa – B. rubra – B. sherei – B. sinomontana – B. subauriculata – B. subscaposa – B. suffulta – B. tenuicaulis – B. tenuifolia – B. tubistipulis – B. vacciniifolia – B. vivipara
Nothospecies: B. × rhaetica

Bistorta (L.) Scop., Meth. Pl.: 24 (1754).

Type species: Bistorta officinalis Delarbre, Fl. Auvergne, ed. 2, 2: 516 (1800).


Polygonum [unranked] Bistorta L., Sp. Pl. 360. 1753.
Bistorta (L.) Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4. [194]. 1754, comb. inval.
Bistorta Adans., Fam. Pl. 2: 277. 1763, nom. superfl.
Colubrina Friche-Joset & Montandon, Syn. Fl. Jur. 268. 1856, nom. illeg. non Rich. ex Brongn. (1826), nom. cons.
Polygonum sect. Bistorta (L.) Meisn., Monogr. Polyg. 43, 50 (1826).
Polygonum subgen. Bistorta (L.) Zernov, Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 36: 224 (2004).
Bistorta ser. Apterae Kom., Flora URSS 5: 674 (1936), nom. inval.
Type species: non design.
Bistorta ser. Bistortiformes Kom., Flora URSS 5: 677 (1936), nom. inval.
Type species: non design.
Bistorta ser. Majanthemifoliae Petrov, Izv. Glavn. Bot. Sada S.S.S.R. 27(2): 220 (1928).
Type species: B. majanthemifolia Petrov
Bistorta ser. Tenuicaulinae Petrov, Izv. Glavn. Bot. Sada S.S.S.R. 27(2): 221 (1928).
Type species: B. tenuicaulis Nakai
Bistorta sect.Bistortella (Petrov) Yonek. in K.Iwats. & al. (ed.), Fl. Jap. 2a: 141 (2006).
Bistorta sect. Vivipara Tzvelev, Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 24: 75 (1987).
Type species: B. vivipara (L.) Gray
Bistorta subg. Bistortella Petrov, Izv. Glavn. Bot. Sada S.S.S.R. 27(2): 220 (227) (1928).
Bistorta subg. Pseudobistorta Petrov, Izv. Glavn. Bot. Sada S.S.S.R. 27(2): 227 (1928).
Type species: B. affinis Greene

Primary references

Scopoli, J.A. 1754. Methodus Plantarum quam Divina Favente Clementia Decreto, Authoritate, et Consensu Illustrissimorum, Perillustrium, Magnificorum, Spectabilium & Clarissimorum Virorum Perillustris, ac Magnifici Domini Universitatis Rectoris, Illustrissimi, Magnifici, ac Clarissimi Domini Domini Inclytae Facultatis Medicae Praesidis, Perillustris Spectabilis, Clarissimi, Inclytae Facultas Medica Domini Decani, Venerabilis Domini Senioris, ... 28 pp., . J. P. van Ghelen, Viennae [Wien]. Phaidra Reference page.

Additional references

Galasso, G., Banfi, E.A., De Mattia, F., Grassi, F., Sgorbati, S. & Labra, M., 2009. Molecular phylogeny of Polygonum L. s.l. (Polygonoideae, Polygonaceae), focusing on European taxa: preliminary results and systematic considerations based on rbcL plastidial sequence data. Atti della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 150(1): 113–148. BHL ResearchGate Reference page.
Schuster, T.M., Reveal, J.L. & Kron, K.A. 2011. Phylogeny of Polygoneae (Polygonaceae: Polygonoideae). Taxon 60(6): 1653–1666. DOI: 10.1002/tax.606010 JSTOR Reference page.
Schuster, T.M., Reveal, J.L., Bayly, M.J. & Kron, K.A. 2015. An updated molecular phylogeny of Polygonoideae (Polygonaceae): Relationships of Oxygonum, Pteroxygonum, and Rumex, and a new circumscription of Koenigia. Taxon 64(6): 1188–1208. DOI: 10.12705/646.5 JSTOR ResearchGate Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Bistorta in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan. 2. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2017. Bistorta. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2017. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Mar. 21. Reference page.

International Plant Names Index. 2017. Bistorta. Published online. Accessed: Mar. 24 2017.
Tropicos.org 2017. Bistorta. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2017 Mar. 24. Note treats as a synonym of Polgonum s.l.

Vernacular names
العربية: أنجبار
čeština: rdesno
dansk: Slangeurt-slægten
Deutsch: Wiesenknöteriche
English: Bistort
suomi: Konnantattaret
français: Bistortes
日本語: イブキトラノオ属
қазақша: Жылан таран
русский: Змеевик
slovenčina: stavikrv
svenska: Ormrötter

Bistorta is a genus of flowering plants in the family Polygonaceae. As of February 2019 about 40 species are accepted. It has been supported as a separate clade by molecular phylogenetic analysis.[2] Bistorta species are native throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, as far south as Mexico in North America and Thailand in Asia.[1]


Species of Bistorta are perennial herbaceous plants. Their roots are fibrous, forming rhizomes. They have erect, unbranched stems. Their leaves are usually longer than wide, mostly basal, but with some arranged alternately on the stems. The inflorescences are spikelike. The individual flowers have five white to purple-pink (rarely red) tepals. The flowers are bisexual, although the 5–8 stamens are sometimes poorly developed. There are three styles. The fruits are in the form of achenes, that are brown or dark brown, unwinged, and three-angled. The monoploid number of chromosomes, x, is 11 or 12.[3]

In 1753, Carl Linnaeus divided up his genus Polygonum into unranked groups, one of which was Bistorta. In 1754, Giovanni Antonio Scopoli elevated Bistorta to a genus.[4]

Bistorta is placed in the subfamily Polygonoideae, tribe Persicarieae, along with the genera Koenigia and Persicaria. A 2015 molecular phylogenetic study suggested that the tribes in Polygonoideae were related as shown in the following cladogram.[5]



Persicarieae (Bistorta, Koenigia, Persicaria)






Within the tribe Persicarieae, Bistorta is most closely related to Koenigia:[5]






As of March 2019, Plants of the World Online accepted the following 42 species.[1]

Bistorta abukumensis Yonek., Iketsu & H.Ohashi
Bistorta affinis (D.Don) Greene
Bistorta albiflora Miyam. & H.Ohba
Bistorta alopecuroides (Turcz. ex Besser) Kom.
Bistorta amplexicaulis (D.Don) Greene
Bistorta attenuata Kom.
Bistorta attenuatifolia Miyam. & H.Ohba
Bistorta bistortoides (Pursh) Small
Bistorta burmanica Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta coriacea (Sam.) Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta diopetes H.Ohba & S.Akiyama
Bistorta elliptica (Willd. ex Spreng.) V.V.Petrovsky, D.F.Murray & Elven
Bistorta emodi (Meisn.) H.Hara
Bistorta griersonii Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta griffithii (Hook.f.) Grierson
Bistorta hayachinensis (Makino) H.Gross
Bistorta honanensis (H.W.Kung) Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta incana (Nakai) Nakai
Bistorta jaljalensis H.Ohba & S.Akiyama
Bistorta krascheninnikovii N.A.Ivanova
Bistorta longispicata Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta ludlowii Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta macrophylla (D.Don) Soják
Bistorta manshuriensis (Petrov ex Kom.) Kom.
Bistorta milletii H.Lév.
Bistorta milletioides H.Ohba & S.Akiyama
Bistorta ochotensis Kom.
Bistorta officinalis Delarbre
Bistorta paleacea (Wall. ex Hook.f.) Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta perpusilla (Hook.f.) Greene
Bistorta plumosa (Small) Greene
Bistorta purpureonervosa (A.J.Li) Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta × rhaetica (Brügger) Dostál
Bistorta rubra Yonek. & H.Ohashi
Bistorta sherei H.Ohba & S.Akiyama
Bistorta sinomontana (Sam.) Miyam.
Bistorta subscaposa (Diels) Petrov
Bistorta suffulta (Maxim.) Greene ex H.Gross
Bistorta tenuicaulis (Bisset & S.Moore) Nakai
Bistorta tenuifolia (H.W.Kung) Miyam. & H.Ohba
Bistorta tubistipulis Miyam. & H.Ohba
Bistorta vacciniifolia (Wall. ex Meisn.) Greene
Bistorta vivipara (L.) Delarbre


"Bistorta (L.) Scop". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
Sanchez, A.; Schuster, T.M. & Kron, K.A. (2009). "A large-scale phylogeny of Polygonaceae based on molecular data". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 170 (8): 1044–1055. doi:10.1086/605121.
Freeman, Craig C. & Hinds, Harold R. "Bistorta". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America (online). eFloras.org. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
"Plant Name Details for Bistorta (L.) Scop". The International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
Schuster, Tanja M.; Reveal, James L.; Bayly, Michael J. & Kron, Kathleen A. (2015). "An updated molecular phylogeny of Polygonoideae (Polygonaceae): Relationships of Oxygonum, Pteroxygonum, and Rumex, and a new circumscription of Koenigia". Taxon. 64 (6): 1188–1208. doi:10.12705/646.5.

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