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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]
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]