10 Animals That Have Come Back From Extinction Bright Side Pros and Cons of the Japanese Knotweed

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Pros and Cons of the Japanese Knotweed

There are many names which Japanese knotweed can be known as; Reynoutria japonica, Fallopia japonica and Polygonum cuspidatum are the scientific names for Japanese knotweed. Reynoutria japonica is the oldest name given in 1777 by Houttuyn, a well-known Dutch botanist.

This name was lost over 10 decades with the weed called Polygonum cuspidatum by Siebold and Zuchharini in 1845. Today, its main scientific name is Fallopia japonica.

International fame

Japanese knotweed is known internationally by native names such as American bamboo, Mexican bamboo, wool flower, donkey or wild rhubarb, pea shooters, monkey weed, elephant ears, Hancock’s curse, red beauty, Huzhang and rhubarb wild

This weed species belongs to the knotweed family Polygonaceae which includes rhubarb, sorrel and buckwheat. This large herbaceous species is native to China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. It was first introduced to the US and Europe in the 19th century.

Uses

Japanese knotweed is quite versatile in its uses. It was originally intended to feed field animals, prevent soil erosion and be an ornamental plant with its small white and creamy flowers. Its root extract was highly sought after in Chinese medicine.

Its young shoots can be eaten as a vegetable and its bark can be used in jams, soups and sauces. It can be made into a dessert dish with some creative culinary skills and seasonings.

The negative side

However, this weed plant is considered one of the most invasive weed species on any continent; therefore, efforts are made to curb it through various eradication treatments. The UK has a law against the spread of this weed species in its Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Australia and New Zealand have also encountered much difficulty in controlling the widespread growth of this weed. It can damage almost any surface, be it wall or ground. Building foundations can crack and become unstable with the presence of Japanese knot.

A tiny sprout of this weed can shoot its way out of any small crack to cause massive damage. Therefore, sidewalks, sewers, roads, buildings, flood defenses, historical buildings, archaeological sites and even cemeteries can be damaged by Japanese knotweed.

The rapid growth of this weed plant can overrun riverbanks to prevent entry into rivers. Native plants are crowded out by Japanese mushrooms and soon become extinct. The value of the land decreases with the presence of nodes. Eradication of this weedy plant is difficult, costly and not guaranteed.

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