Bistort

Persicaria bistorta

About

The spikes of delicate pink flowers of Common Bistort can crowd damp places such as wet meadows or pastures and roadside verges. In bloom from June to August, this pretty flower goes by a different name in the north of England: 'Pudding Dock' (or sometimes 'Passion Dock'). This is because it was commonly used to create a traditional pudding around Eastertime, probably originating as a cleansing, bitter dish for Lent. Nowadays, many local places have their own take on the basic recipe of Common Bistort leaves, nettles, onions, oatmeal and bacon fat.

How to identify

Common Bistort displays cylindrical, pink flower spikes in summer; the triangular or heart-shaped leaves appear from spring onwards, and decrease in size up the stem.

Where to find it

Grows across the UK, but most common in Wales and the north of England.

Habitats

When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats for the benefit of wildlife - careful grazing with traditional breeds and scrub clearance are just a couple of the ways we ensure a balance of plants and cover in these fragile habitats. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Bistort
Latin name
Persicaria bistorta
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 60cm
Conservation status
Common.