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A review and assessment of biological information as well as personal data are provided for Polygonum aviculare in Canada. The species has been revised taxonomically and the six subspecies that occur in Canada are presented. Three of the subspecies, P. aviculare subsp. aviculare, P. aviculare subsp. neglectum and P. aviculare subsp. depressum are weeds introduced to Canada from Europe. A fourth subspecies, P. aviculare subsp. buxiforme is apparently native to North America. The geographical distribution of the latter four subspecies is very wide. Plants exhibit a high phenotypic plasticity and genetic variability, and they easily adapt to a multitude of agrestal and ruderal habitats. The seeds have a variable dormancy and polymorphic germination as a result of heterocarpy, genetic and environmental factors. In other areas (Europe), the species has developed resistance to triazines. Plants are hosts to nematodes, viruses, and fungi that also affect cultivated plants.


This article was originally published in Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 85(2): 481-405. © 2005 Agricultural Institute of Canada

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