What’s in a name?

Oh, Persicaria! Virginia Jumpseed, Virginia Knotweed. A “smartweed.” Previously classified as a Polygonatum.

So many names!

In my quest to identify and understand what was growing, thriving, or struggling — native or invasive, weed or welcomed plant — this one stood out early among the tangles we encountered.

In the spring, it’s often described as having chevron markings. To me, they look like little hearts imprinted on the leaves.

Those markings disappear as the season progresses and the plants mature. The plants are perhaps a foot tall to the tip of the stems, which bear tiny, knot-like flowers and arrive in August. Not showy, but charming and quite lovely when back lit by the low angle of the morning or evening sun.

The seeds apparently “jump” away from the plant upon maturation.

They have survived — and thrived — among the woodland areas and borders of our property.

There are also cultivated varieties that are highly regarded. Quite a few, in fact. But this humble little native is enough — definitely a keeper — in our garden.