Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people.
Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition
Young plant - cooked
Seed - raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.
A blue dye is obtained from the leaves of this plant
. The leaves produce about 4 - 5% indigo by hydrolysis and acidification
The stems and the leaves are antidote, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, antipyretic and depurative
. Their use increases the phagocytosis of white blood cells and decreases the permeability of the capillaries
. The indigo pigment in the leaves is used
. It is used in the treatment of freckles, pimples, erysipelas, mumps, thrush, epidemic protitis, infantile convulsions and high febrile conditions of children
The leaves and fruits are used in Korea to help protect the liver and to treat burns and food poisoning caused by eating fish.
The fruits are antidote and febrifuge.
The plant is anti-inflammatory
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Polygonum tinctorium. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil
but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade
. Requires full sun and a fertile soil
. Prefers hot humid climates
A frost tender plant, it can be grown as a half-hardy annual in Britain.
This plant used to be cultivated as a dye plant.
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Polygonum tinctorium. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Polygonum tinctorium.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
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? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
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? 6.06.16.26.3 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
? 7.07.1 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
? 9.09.19.29.3 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
? 10.010.110.2 Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila ISBN 92 9061 120 0 (1998-00-00)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? 12.012.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 13.013.1 ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)
? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
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