Description: Rhizomatous perennials with stout erect bamboo-like annual stem, or more or less slender perennial or annual herbs with twining or decumbent stems.
Leaves petiolate; pit nectaries present; ocrea brown or pallid, membranous, entire, truncate, soon disintegrating.
Inflorescence lax, a spike-like panicle or large axillary panicles. Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual with vestiges of the other sex usually present. Perianth segments 5, sepaloid and whitish on the margins and only slightly enlarged and winged in fruit OR petaloid and whitish, enlarging in fruit and outer 3 segments keeled or winged. Stamens 8; anthers versatile. Style 3-fid, very short; stigmas capitate or small-peltate, or shortly elongated, smooth or shortly fimbriate.
Achene trigonous, shorter than and enclosed in the persistent enlarged perianth.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 22 species, in temperate northern hemisphere regions. Australia: 3 species and 1 hybrid (all garden escapes and occasionally naturalised).
The big perennial species with rather bamboo-like annual stems separated as Reynoutria were previously included in Fallopia (e.g. Decraene & Akeroyd (1988) and Bailey & Stace (1992)) but recent research (e.g. Schuster et al. 2011) indicates the separate status of the two genera. F. aubertii (L. Henry) Holub and F. baldschuanica (Regel) Holub are occasionally cultivated as ornamentals, but they are potentially invasive weeds in cooler climates so care should be taken.
Text by K. L. Wilson (1990); edited KL Wilson (Jan 2008, Sept 2017)
|One species in NSW: Fallopia convolvulus|