po·​lyg·​o·​num pə-ˈli-gə-nəm How to pronounce polygonum (audio)
: any of a genus (Polygonum) of herbs of the buckwheat family with a prominent tubular sheath around the base of each petiole, thickened nodes, and flowers that are solitary and axillary or in spiked racemes

called also knotweed

Word History


borrowed from New Latin Polygonum, genus name, going back to Latin polygonus, polygona "knotweed," borrowed from Greek polýgonon, from poly- poly- + -gonum, derivative of góny "knee, joint or knot (in the stem of a plant)" — more at knee entry 1

Note: The genus name was introduced by linnaeus in Species plantarum (Stockholm, 1753), tomus 1, p. 359.

First Known Use

1562, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polygonum was in 1562

Dictionary Entries Near polygonum

Cite this Entry

“Polygonum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygonum. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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