Greek polys—many, gonu—joint, referring to the swollen stem joints.
Annual or perennial herbs, occasionally shrubs or climbers. Stems mostly with distinctive joints and sheaths. Leaves alternate, simple, entire, longer than wide. Flowers bisexual in spikes or clusters. Perianth segments 4-5. Stamens 8. Stigmas 2-3. Fruit a 3(2)-angled nut enclosed by the sometimes winged, persistent perianth segments.
Often weedy and generally occupying moist habitats.
Seed or division.
Medicinal (dried rhizome and young tips of some species).
About 50 species cosmopolitan but mostly northern temperate (Australia 5-6 species all states, probably only 1 native).
Mertens & Raven (1965), Park (1988), Wilson (1988).
Source: (1997). Polygonaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.