- Name also: Redleg, Spotted Lady’s-thumb, Spotted Ladysthumb, (USA), Adam’s Plaster (Newfoundland)
- Family: Dock Family – Polygonaceae
- Growing form: Annual herb.
- Height: 10–60 cm (4–25 in.). Erect–ascending, limp. Stem glabrous, slightly swollen at joints.
- Flower: Regular (actinomorphic)–campanulate (bell-shaped), approx. 3.5 mm (0.14 in.) long. Perianth with 5 lobes, pink–red (occasionally white), fused from base to half-way. Stamens 6. Pistil of two fused carpels. Basally (to half-way) united styles 2. Inflorescence a dense spike.
- Leaves: Alternate. Leaf blade short-stalked–stalkless, lanceolate–narrowly elliptic, 5–10 cm (0.2–0.4 in.), with entire margins, glabrous, surface with black blotch. Ochrea margin with long hairs.
- Fruit: Shiny black, 2–3 mm (0.08–0.12 in.) long, usually 3-edged achene.
- Habitat: Yards, gardens, fields, waste ground, ditches, soil heaps.
- Flowering time: July–September.
Redshank is believed to have arrived in Finland in ancient times (an archeophyte). Redshank has been used as a medicinal herb to treat e.g. diarrhoeah and infectious diseases, and the leaves and young shoots can be eaten in salads. Redshank looks a lot like pale persicaria (P. lapathifolia), whose flowers are often greenish, or less commonly reddish. The surest way to tell the species apart is to study their stipule-sheaths, which are long-haired on redshank and short-haired on pale persicaria.
Did you know?
Plants are divided into three classes according to their native habitat. According to the time they arrived, they are native, archeophytes or neophytes. Archeophytes in Finland are classified as those species which have arrived in the country with people. e.g by boat or with soldiers, before the beginning of the 17th century. Approximately 120 species in Finland are archeophytes. A neophyte is a species that has arrived after the beginning of the 17th century. These are both alien species. Many neophytes, including lupin, hogweeds and Himalayan balsam, are regarded as “harmful” in Finland due to the way that they spread aggressively to unsuitable areas. The EU area has approximately 11,000 alien species, a good 10% of which are regarded as nuisances.