Japanese Knotweed, Invasive In The US, So Eat As Much As You’d Like


our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg

Japanese Knotweed Grove
Japanese Knotweed grove

We have all seen this plant growing along stream beds and in wet areas.  Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum / Fallopia japonica) is native to… you guessed it, Japan.  It’s also native to other parts of Asia.  This plant has naturalized in many parts of the world, it grows in 39 of the 50 United States and is listed as one of the world’s worst 100 invasive plant species by the World Conservation Union.  In other words there is no guilt in cutting down a Japanese Knotweed grove just to eat a few stalks. Another common name for this plant is Japanese Bamboo, because it grows with nodes similar to bamboo although it is not a bamboo.

Edibility and Culinary Use

Japanese Knotweed Shoot
Japanese Knotweed shoot, edible at this size and slightly larger

Japanese Knotweed is a favorite wild edible to many people around the world because it is so easy to harvest and identify, and it tastes so good.  The stems can be eaten either raw or cooked when they are still juicy in the early spring, they get too tough to eat as the season progresses.   The taste is similar to rhubarb, sour and tart.  It can be used as a rhubarb substitute in pies. 

Health Benefits

The nutritional benefits of Japanese knotweed are that it contains vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. It also contains resveratrol which is a substance still being studied for its numerous health benefits. 

Key ID Features

Japanese Knotweet spreads by runners which send up stalks that can reach about 6′ in height.  The stalks are segmented by nodes every 6″-8″ similar to bamboo. There are 2 types of new growth in the spring, seed growth and runner growth.  Seedlings are small and thin.  New stalks originating from runner roots come up about 1″-1.5″ stem diameter, and they grow very quickly, these are the stalks that are usually eaten.

Video on How to Identify Japanese Knotweed

Cautions

Japanese Knotweed contains oxalic acid just like rhubarb, spinach and some other common vegetables. Oxalic Acid aggravates conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity.  So if your doctor has told you to avoid oxalic acid then avoid Japanese Knotweed.

Conclusion

Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed mature stalks, too hard and dry to be edible (Photo By: Michael Gasperl / Wikimedia Commons)

This is a plant that can be harvested in large quantities. So unless your limiting your oxalic acid intake this plant should be part of everyone’s diet, it’s easy to find, identify, harvest, very good for you, and it tastes great. So next time you see Japanese Knotweed growing in a clean streambed in early spring think about taking some home.



Celebrate our Most Popular Article With This Exclusive T-Shirt!!

Visit our store by clicking on THIS LINK to get this t-Shirt which was designed exclusively for eattheplanet.org viewers which means it can not be purchased anywhere else on the internet. This shirt reads "Sassafras- The Radical Root". Our most popular article Sassafras, An Illegal Substance That Grows Wild In Our Back Yards inspired us to design this sassafras t-shirt
Many of our readers find that subscribing to Eat The Planet is the best way to make sure they don't miss any of our valuable information about wild edibles.

Subscribe to our mailing list

our facebook page for additional articles and updates.

Follow us on Twitter @EatThePlanetOrg



Hen of the Woods
Hen of the Woods – Powerful Medicinal and Edible Mushroom
Read more.
green lawn
How to Have a Nice Lawn and Eat It Too!
Read more.
Wild Edibles Quiz
Wild Edibles Quiz, Can You Survive?
Read more.
Poisonous Mushroom
Foraging Fatality Statistics 2016 (Please Share)
Read more.
Lion's mane mushroom
Lion’s Mane – An Edible Mushroom That is Unmistakable
Read more.
Cottonwood seeds
Cottonwood Buds are Medicinal, Leaves are Edible
Read more.
Pickled Pawpaws
Pickled Pawpaws
Read more.
Pickled Pawpaws
Pawpaw Fruits, A Tropical Fruit in Temperate Climates
Read more.
Chicken of the Woods recipe
Simple Chicken of the Woods Recipe
Read more.
Poison Ivy
Eating poison ivy – does it make you immune?
Read more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>