Plants annual, 3-20 dm; roots also often arising from proximal nodes. Stems scandent, ribbed, glabrous; prickles 1-1.5 mm. Leaves: ocrea brownish, cylindric, (3-)5-13 mm, chartaceous, base inflated or not, without prickles, margins oblique, glabrous or ciliate at tip with bristles 0.2-1 mm, surface glabrous; petiole 0.5-4 cm; blade broadly lanceolate to oblong, 2-8.5 × 1-3 cm, base sagittate to cordate, margins entire, ciliate or eciliate, apex obtuse to acute, faces glabrous or densely appressed-pubescent, usually with retrorse prickles along midvein abaxially. Inflorescences capitate or paniclelike, uninterrupted, 5-15 × 4-10 mm; peduncle 10-80 mm, usually glabrous, sometimes with retrorse prickles proximally; ocreolae overlapping, margins eciliate. Pedicels mostly ascending, 1-1.5 mm. Flowers 2-3 per ocreate fascicle; perianth white or greenish white, often tinged pink or red, sometimes entirely pink, glabrous, accrescent, not becoming blue and fleshy in fruit; tepals 5, connate 1/ 1/ 2 their length, broadly elliptic, 3-5 mm, apex obtuse; stamens 8, filaments distinct, free; anthers pink, ovate; styles 3, connate to middle. Achenes included or styles exserted, light or dark brown to black, 3-gonous, 2.5-4 × 1.8-2.5 mm, dull to shiny, smooth to minutely punctate. 2n = 40. Flowering Jun-Oct. Moist shaded sites, meadows, pastures, fens, swamps, shorelines of ponds and streams; 0-1000 m; Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Ark., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.; e Asia. Persicariasagittata is an extremely variable species. Achene and leaf characters have been used by some authors to separate North American and Asian populations, but these characters show weak geographic variation (C. W. Park 1988).
Slender annual 1-2 m, reclining on other plants, or erect when young, the stems 4-angled, reflexed-prickly as are usually also the petioles and peduncles and the midrib beneath, lvs sometimes pubescent on margins, lanceolate to elliptic, 2-10 cm, to 2.5 cm wide, sagittate at base, the lobes directed downwards; infl of short, head-like, long-peduncled terminal and axillary racemes seldom over 1 cm; perianth pink to white or green; style 1.5 mm, trifid to the middle; achene trigonous, 2.2-3 mm; 2n=40. Marshes and wet meadows; Nf. and Que. to Sask., s. to Ga. and Tex. (Tracaulon s.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.