Chinese knotweed looks similar to Japanese knotweed. The subtle differences are both the size of the leaves and the flowers

Asking yourself ‘how do you kill Chinese Knotweed?’ has become much more important these days in regards to property transactions and boundaries.

Chances are you’ve heard of this invasive weed before. It’s a noxious, rhizomatous perennial that can grow up to 10 inches per day and is considered one of the world’s worst weeds.

Chinese knotweed has been spreading across several continents for over two centuries, and it isn’t going anywhere- in fact, its rapid growth rate makes it even more difficult to eradicate.

Today we’ll look at Chinese knotweed, a form of knotweed that lives close to its more troublesome cousin Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria multiflora).

What is Chinese Knotweed?

This plant is a flowering member of the buckwheat family! In more respects than one, it resembles Japanese knotweed, which is found primarily in (you guessed it) mainland China. It has the following features:

  • Tall, woody stems that could pass for bamboo
  • Arrowhead leaves with a wide shape
  • Flowers that are greenish-white and develop on thick panicles.

Isn’t it similar to Japanese knotweed? One element that this plant produces that Japanese knotweed does not is a fruit. The Chinese knotweed plant produces achenes, which are thin, dry one-seeded fruits that do not open.

We looked at the advantages of Japanese knotweed in one of our blogs, and it turns out that Chinese knotweed has a lot of medicinal uses as well! In reality, the perennial reynoutria multiflora is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The Chinese call the plant ‘he shou wu or fo-ti’, and unlike Japanese knotweed, which is considered an invasive species in the United States, they cultivate it for ornamental purposes and medicinal purposes. This form of knotweed is very common, and here’s why:

Chinese knotweed (persicaria Chinensis) leaves and flower
Chinese knotweed (persicaria Chinensis) leaves and flower

What does it look like?

Chinese knotweed is a scrambling vine that can also be a shrub. Depending on what it’s climbing over, it will reach different heights. It can achieve heights of up to 1m if grown as a shrub without support.

The leaves are smooth, wavy-edged, and have a white blotch in the form of a “V.” They are 4-16cm long, soft, and wavy-edged. The leaves are pinkish, and the flowers are cream/pink.

What exactly is the issue?

Chinese knotweed can thrive in a variety of environments, including shade, extreme heat and cold, high salinity, and drought. It grows in wet valleys, grassy hills, mixed forests, valleys, and mountain slopes from sea level to 3000 m in its native range.

It can be found in disturbed sites, home gardens, abandoned gardens, riverbanks, roadsides, and agricultural lands outside of its native range.

It has the ability to disrupt forestry, orchard, and nursery operation, as well as become a nuisance plant in backyards and lifestyle blocks. Chinese knotweed is a fast-growing invasive plant that suffocates other plants and trees.

It has the potential to have a significant impact on forest floor ecosystems, especially on forest fringes and in light wells. Rhizomes (roots) and stem fragments are used to grow plants.

The plant’s ability to grow seeds is unknown. Plant fragments may be distributed by dirty gardening equipment, such as lawnmowers, as well as in garden waste and soil. It may also be distributed on purpose for medicinal purposes.

Chinese knotweed dried out is used extensively in medicine
Chinese knotweed dried out is used extensively in medicine

Medicinal Applications

This wonderful herb is said to help people regain their virility and fertility by affecting the reproductive, circulatory, and urinary systems, as well as the liver.

The roots and stems of this weed have a wide variety of medicinal properties, making it a one-stop medicine shop! They can be used as a sedative, laxative, anti-cholesterolemic, or medication for menstrual or menopausal issues when consumed (to name but a few of its many uses).

People who take the rhizomes for an extended period of time have also mentioned a darkening of their hair!

Aside from its numerous internal applications, Chinese knotweed can also be used externally to treat ringworm, and its antibacterial properties allow it to be used to clean open wounds and sores. More information on the medicinal uses of Chinese knotweed can be found here.

As a result, it’s fair to say that Chinese knotweed is held in higher regard and esteem in the culture than its Japanese counterpart! With that in mind, if you see Japanese knotweed on your farm, contact us for a free survey and we’ll work with you to get it under control.

The hardest part about removing Chinese knotweed is getting it out of the ground. You can use a shovel or digging tool, but you’ll need to be patient and persistent as this weed has deep roots that are difficult to remove from the soil.

It also takes time for new knots of weeds to sprout back up again if you’ve been successful in uprooting them all, so don’t let your guard down too soon!

Infestation of Chinese Knotweed consuming a garden and killing all other vegetation
Infestation of Chinese Knotweed consuming a garden and killing all other vegetation

Want to know more about Chinese Knotweed?

How do you kill Chinese Knotweed?

Knotweed Removal aims to provide the most up to date information, help and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain on how to proceed, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.

The best means to contact us is via our email – knotweedremovaltips@gmail.com

Do not forget we have a library of blogs covering many areas relevant to Japanese Knotweed, our free downloadable How-to Guides and Product Reviews on the latest methods being employed to eradicate or remove Japanese Knotweed.

Knotweed Removal, UK

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Weedol 10005 Ultra Tough WeedKiller Liquid Concentrate 6+2 Tubes, Black
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Weedol 17789 Rootkill Plus Weedkiller, Spray, 1 Litre, Clear
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