Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I would like to know all the wildflowers of the Northeast US. I know, I know... quite an unreasonable goal, but at least I'll always have something to shoot for. I'm not even going to try to learn all the ornamental garden species. However, I came across a huge patch of this vine behind a house the other day, and it's so odd, I had to try to find it.

It goes by many names, one of which is Mile-a-Minute Vine. Can you guess how fast it grows?

Russian vine

It's a knotweed, family Polygonaceae. There are a number of common plants in this family sometimes called smartweeds, or lady's thumb. They all have swollen joints, something like bamboo. You can see those here- look for the slight thickening at each little brown stipule (tiny leaf-like thing at a joint).

Russian vine

Although this is beautiful, it has the potential to become invasive like the Japanese Knotweed. It's native to Asia. It's also called Russian vine, or Silver Lace vine. It does look very lacy.

To me, the most amazing and totally weird thing is that the flowers have five parts, but that develops into a seed case with only three parts. The one is usually the same as, or a multiple of the other. More research needed on this, I think!

Russian vine

Its botanical name is Fallopia Baldschuanica. Yes, that's the same root as Fallopian tubes. Both are named for Gabriello Fallopio, a renowned botanist and anatomist from Padua, Italy.

See Bad Bad Purple Plant
if you like this blog, click the +1  


Secondary Roads said...

I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking it must be less than 88 feet per second. Or am I wrong?

RNSANE said...

Very interesting plant, Joan. Seems like some of the prettiest flowers can also become pests. I know the lupine which grows on many California highways and looks so pretty can really take over and become a nuisance.