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Least Water-pepper

Persicaria minor

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Polygonaceae (Dock)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Ditches, fields, marshes, mud, riversides, swamps, waterside, wetland.

Pink, 5 petals
Flowers are in a loose but slender spike. White flowers are rare. The flowers are pinker and more slender than those of the similar looking Tasteless Water-pepper (Persicaria mitis).
The fruit is a flat, oval nutlet.
Narrow, pointed, lance-shaped leaves. Almost stalkless. The leaves are narrower than those of Tasteless Water-pepper (Persicaria mitis).
Other Names:
Kesum, Pygmy Smartweed, Small Smartweed, Small Water-pepper, Spotted Lady's Thumb.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Persicaria minor, also known as Pygmy Smartweed, is a species of herb in the family Polygonaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America, and is found in wet habitats such as marshes and pond edges. The plant is known for its small, white flowers and its high concentration of oxalic acid in its leaves. It is also used for medicinal purposes in Malaysia, where it is known as "kesum". It has also been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and has potential benefits for cognitive function and mood.


Least water-pepper, also known as Persicaria minor, is a type of plant that belongs to the Polygonaceae family. This plant is native to Europe and Asia and is widely distributed throughout many regions of the world.

Least water-pepper is an annual or perennial herb that grows in moist areas, such as near streams, lakes, and rivers. It is characterized by its small, heart-shaped leaves and tiny, pink or white flowers that bloom from July to September. The plant can grow up to 20 cm in height and has a spreading habit, which makes it ideal for use as a ground cover.

One of the most notable features of least water-pepper is its ability to tolerate wet soils, making it a great choice for gardens that are prone to flooding or for planting near water features. It is also a good option for areas that are difficult to mow or maintain due to their dampness.

In addition to its practical uses, least water-pepper is also valued for its ornamental qualities. The delicate flowers and vibrant green foliage provide a charming and cheerful addition to any garden. The plant is also easy to care for, requiring little maintenance and being resistant to most pests and diseases.

If you're looking for a plant that can add a touch of beauty to your garden while also being able to withstand damp conditions, least water-pepper is definitely worth considering. Whether you're planting near a stream, lake, or river, or simply want to add a pop of color to a shady corner of your yard, this versatile and hardy plant is sure to thrive.

In conclusion, least water-pepper is a versatile, low-maintenance plant that is perfect for gardens that are prone to dampness. With its ability to tolerate wet soils and its charming ornamental qualities, this plant is sure to be a welcome addition to any garden.

Least water-pepper is also used for medicinal purposes in traditional medicine. The leaves and stems of the plant contain compounds that have been found to have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antiseptic properties.

For instance, a decoction made from the plant's leaves and stems has been used to treat digestive complaints such as indigestion and abdominal pain. The plant's anti-inflammatory properties have also been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and rashes.

In addition to its medicinal uses, least water-pepper is also edible. The leaves and stems of the plant can be cooked or used raw in salads, and they have a mild, slightly bitter taste. The plant is also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants.

When growing least water-pepper, it's important to keep in mind that it prefers moist soils and partial shade. If planting in full sun, it's a good idea to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent the plant from drying out. The plant is also relatively low-maintenance, only requiring occasional watering during periods of drought.

Least water-pepper is a versatile and hardy plant that offers a range of benefits, from its ornamental qualities to its medicinal uses. Whether you're planting near water features, in damp areas, or simply looking for a low-maintenance plant to add to your garden, least water-pepper is definitely worth considering.

It's also important to note that least water-pepper can be invasive in some areas and may spread beyond its intended boundaries if not properly managed. To prevent this, it's a good idea to plant it in containers or to limit its growth by regularly removing any unwanted shoots.

Another thing to keep in mind is that least water-pepper may be toxic to livestock if consumed in large amounts. For this reason, it's important to be mindful of where you plant it if you have livestock or pets that roam freely in your yard.

In conclusion, least water-pepper is a highly versatile and low-maintenance plant that offers a range of benefits, including its ornamental qualities, medicinal uses, and edible leaves. However, it's important to be mindful of its invasive nature and potential toxicity to livestock. With proper care and management, this plant is sure to add a touch of beauty and utility to any garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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