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Any of several plants of the family Polygonaceae, especially the Eurasian perennial herb Persicaria bistorta (syn. Polygonum bistorta), having spikes of usually pink flowers and twisted roots used as an astringent in folk medicine.

[French bistorte, from Old French, from Medieval Latin *bistorta : Latin bis, twice; see bis + torta, past participle of torquēre, to twist; see torque1.]


1. (Plants) Also called: snakeroot, snakeweed or Easter-ledges a Eurasian polygonaceous plant, Polygonum bistorta, having leaf stipules fused to form a tube around the stem and a spike of small pink flowers
2. (Plants) Also called: snakeroot a related plant, Polygonum bistortoides, of W North America, with oval clusters of pink or white flowers
3. (Plants) any of several other plants of the genus Polygonum
[C16: from French bistorte, from Latin bis twice + tortus from torquēre to twist]


(ˈbɪs tɔrt)

1. Also called snakeweed. a European plant, Polygonum bistorta, of the buckwheat family, having a twisted root, which is sometimes used as an astringent.
2. any of several related plants, as P. viviparum.
[1570–80; < Medieval Latin bistorta twice twisted. See bis, tort]
References in periodicals archive ?
An aqueous extract from the roots of meadow bistort (Polygonum bistorta), Perlaura stimulates the expression of the fibrous protein perlecan and its receptor dystroglycan, which contribute to skin homeostasis in the epithelial and endothelial basement membranes.
SCOTTISH DOCK PUDDING Take a colander full of bistort leaves and several leaves of comfrey, ladies' mantle, nettle tops and ramsons or dandelion.
Meadows abound with sainfoin, yellow rattles, rampions, orchids, campions, clovers, pink Bistort, Viper's Bugloss, Ox-eye Daisy, bellflowers and even Orange lilies.
In the spring it was full of cowslips and primroses, dame's violet and bistort, in summer, yarrow and ragwort and the hard purple heads of knapweed.
Polygonaceae Bistort Polygonum Nectar bistortoides Pursch Rosaceae Serviceberry Amelanchier Strong alnifolia Nutt.
They include English bluebells, oxlip, bistort, cuckoopint, and Madonna lily.
37 See Bistort, 100, where the role of the dancing master as master of the nuptial ceremonies is cited, and Molmenti, 2:332.