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Polygonum sagittatum

Common Name of Genus: Arrow Tearthumb

Entry Author:  C.  Westring
Description:  Weak-stemmed sprawling annual that uses backward-pointing hooks on the stem and leaves to help it climb over other plants.  This plant's name comes from these hooks which are stiff enough to break skin
Simple, narrowly arrowhead-shaped leaves, pointed at the tip, with a pair of pointed lobes at the base, smooth, up to 7-8 cm long
Up to 12 flowers in small, rounded clusters.  Flowers are pink or white, with 5 sepals
Achenes triangular, black-brown, and shiny
Stem:  Sprawling or climbing, with numerous stiff, downward-pointing hairs
Branching Pattern:
Height:  0.6 to 1.2 meters
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest:  Marshes, wet thickets, and along streams
Range:  Throughout North America from Newfoundland to Northwest Territory, south to Florida
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide:  Not threatened
Uses (Human):  There are no known edible uses but the plant may sometimes be used in the treatment of nephritic colic, relieving the pains caused by gravel


Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains.  February 23, 2005.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.  Accessed:  January 20, 2006. <>

Connecticut Wildflowers.  January 20, 2006.  Connecticut Botanical Society.  Accessed:  January 20, 2006. <>

Plants for a Future.  June 2004.  Accessed: January 20, 2006.  <>

The Pennsylvania Flora Project.  Botany Department, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.  Accessed:  January 20, 2006. <>

This page was created by: C. Westring, Muhlenberg College
Last updated 01/24/06