Bistorta bistortoides
American bistort, western bistort

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: Streambanks and moist or swampy meadows, middle elevations in the mountains to alpine slopes.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from a short rhizome with 1 to several erect flowering stems 10-30 inches tall.


Mostly basal, with long petioles, the blade elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, up to 1.5 dm. long, with brownish stipules 3-6 cm. long, not lacerate; the few small stem leaves sessile and somewhat cordate at the base.


In spike-like terminal racemes, many-flowered, 2-4 cm. long and 1.5-2 cm. wide; perianth 4-5 mm. long, divided most of its length into 5 oblong, equal, white to pink segments; stamens 8, on long filaments.

Identification Notes:

Achene with three sharp angles, yellowish-brown, smooth and shining, about 4 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Bistorta bistortoides (Pursh) Small
Publication: Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 33: 57. 1906.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Polygonum bistortoides Pursh [HC]
Polygonum glastifolium Greene
Polygonum linearifolium
Polygonum vulcanicum Greene
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Bistorta bistortoides in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Bistorta bistortoides checklist entry

OregonFlora: Bistorta bistortoides information

E-Flora BC: Bistorta bistortoides atlas page

CalPhotos: Bistorta bistortoides photos

67 photographs:
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