Smartweed Wild Edible Plant
Smartweed (Polygonum sp.) is a member of the buckwheat family. Smartweed is an annual that grows to about 2 feet in height, flowers from July to September and grows in shallow water and in areas that stay wet and occasionally hold standing water. The flowers color will depend on the species but will be either white, pink or purple.
Smartweed can be found in all of the lower 48 states. It can also be found in Alaska and the Eastern half of Canada. Smartweeds species can be grouped into two broad categories. One in which the flowers come on a spike-like terminal clusters. We will call these smartweeds. The other category is known as knotweeds and they sport flowers clustered on the leaf axils. But for our purposes the distinction is not relevant to their end uses. Both are edible in the same way.
The edible parts of Smartweed are both the leaves and stems either raw or better yet cooked to remove oxalic acid. Also the small seeds are edible either raw or cooked which are very hot and can be made into a condiment and substituted for pepper since most people aren't going to have any pepper plants avaiable naturally.