Himalayan Knotweed

Polygonum polystachyum

Himalayan Knotweed

Family: Polygonaceae

Other Common Names: bell-shaped knotweed
Weed class: B
Year Listed: 2003
Native to: Asia
Is this Weed Toxic?:

not known to be


Legal listings:

WA Quarantine list, WAC 16-750

Why Is It a Noxious Weed?

It grows vigorously into dense colonies that exclude native vegetation, alters natural ecosystems and is difficult to eradicate. It poses a significant threat to riparian areas, where it can survive severe floods. Small fragments can form new plants.

How would I identify it?

General Description

Himalayan knotweed is a clumping perennial with large leaves, hollow stems, and long creeping rhizomes. It is not usually confused with other knotweeds—it is recognized by its long slender leaves. It can grow to about 6 feet in height.

Flower Description

Flowers are showy, pinkish, and fragrant with clusters borne at tips of branches.

Leaf description

Leaves are leathery, alternate, 5 to 12 inches in length with sharply pointed tips.  They have slightly heart shaped to tapered bases. They are narrower than giant knotweed leaves.

Stem description

Stems are smooth and upright with twigs that zigzag slightly from leaf node to leaf node. They are reddish-brown at maturity.

Fruit Seed Description

The small 3-sided achenes (seeds) have the old sepals attached and are smooth.

May Be Confused With

Knotweed species resemble each other; Himalayan Knotweed can be easily distinguished from the others by its long slender leaves. If you need help with plant identification, please contact your county noxious weed coordinator.

Where does it grow?

Himalayan knotweed can be found on disturbed moist sites, roadsides, riparian and wetland areas. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of Himalayan knotweed in Washington.

How Does it Reproduce?

Himalayan knotweed reproduces vegetatively from rhizomes and by seed. Each node on the plant stock is able to produce roots and new plants. New plants can sprout from fragments as small as 1 inch.

How Do I Control It?

General Control Strategy

Mowing or cutting plant shoots is ineffective alone; however, mowing followed by herbicide treatments will provide some control. Methods must be repeated if infestation is very large. Care must be taken not to produce new plants. All plant material should be removed, dried and burned if possible. New plants can sprout from very small fragments.

Mechanical Control

Grubbing out small clumps when discovered can prevent new colonies from establishing. Rhizomes and fragments left in the ground, or nearby, can regenerate and spread infestations. The entire root system must be removed since re-sprouting can occur from rhizomes.

Biological Control

There are currently no registered biological control agents for use on any of these Polygonum species. Grazing may be an effective strategy to prevent establishment. Any grazing strategy should be carefully controlled to prevent damage in riparian areas.

Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.

For More Information

See our Written Findings for more information about Himalayan knotweed (Polygonum polystachyum).

WSDA Knotweed Control Program

Report on knotweeds from the book "Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States"

King County NWCB Fact Sheet on Himalayan knotweed

Whatcom County NWCB Fact Sheet on Himalayan knotweed

Additional Photos