Not surprising because they both spread in similar environment and climate conditions… you might not wish for either but there are collateral benefits from their coincidence.

Is it a dreadful alien invader, a terrorist among plants? The Hammer of Truth, Nature’s payback to an arrogant species (humans) for their own violence and invasions of Nature?

A Language of Plants:

Japanese Knotweed, formally known as Fallopia Japonica or Polygonum cuspidatum (cuspid/spade shaped leaves.) This plant (the specimen at the library) is the dwarf/landscape gardening variety compacta, not so aggressive and invasive as big brother; both are growing in Grand Marais, Minnesota!

In Japan it is called Itadori, the rough translation suggests its uses: relieve or remove pain.

The plant was introduced to North America more than 100 years ago and possibly more than 150. Like many black-listed invasive species, it thrives primarily in disturbed and contaminated  environments. The hollow jointed stalks resemble bamboo and the edible shoots have historically  been sold in markets as American Bamboo Shoots. The root is one source of Resveratrol, an antioxidant “longevity” supplement discovered originally in wine and grapes. See sample label below:

Supplement Facts

Serving Size 1 Softgel
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Resveratrol (from Polygonum cuspidatum Extract (root) 100 mg **


“Follow the money!”

With many Invasive Plant Species that have been around and naturalized in their new host countries for a long time, some observers wonder what all the fuss is about and whether the manufacturers of pesticides and other chemicals have conveniently exaggerated and exploited the issues to increase sales. (In the past many of those same opportunist companies started business with ammunition and explosives then expanded into nerve gas, fertilizer, pesticides, and finally other Ag chemicals and GMO/bio-engineering.)

I was going to compile a balance sheet on Japanese Knotweed, the case for the prosecution and the case for the defense. But it is too much a reflection of the current intolerant and hostile presidential campaign rhetoric.

Marcus Aurelius wrote 1800 years ago, “What Nature inflicts Nature can cure.”

Lyme disease appears to be expanding, invading new territory. A herbalist TCM practitioner has said, “If Lyme has reached your region Japanese Knotweed will not be far behind.”

Re: the meaning of the name Itadori, relieve pain, Isak Dinesen took up the same subject, writing that there are three forms of perfect happiness in life.
1. To feel within yourself an excess of strength
2. To know you are fulfilling your destiny
3. The remission of pain