|Yellow-headed Blackbird, Pennsylvania Smartweed at HNWR, by Philip Jones|
According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, smartweed is in the buckwheat family and is important to waterfowl and other birds, which use it for food and cover.
At least 50 species of birds have been observed feeding on the seeds, including ducks, geese, rails, bobwhites, mourning dove, and ring-necked pheasant. The seeds and other parts are eaten by mammals such as the white-footed mouse, muskrat, raccoon, and fox squirrel. (Wikipedia)
|Great Egret in Field of Smartweed at HNWR, by Kim Morris|
can be found on the Refuge. We know this because thanks to the birds, we also have volunteer plants of both species in the Butterfly Garden each summer.
Pennsylvania, or pink, smartweed, is mainly identified by spikes of numerous flowers and encircling leaf sheaths. The white blooming smartweed is also known as Curlytop knotweed, and Pale Smartweed. Pale Smartweed (P. lapathifolium), is closely related to Pink Smartweed and has white or pale rose, arching flower spikes and usually smooth stems. Both are found in gardens as well as in damp waste places and wetlands. The plant is annual, so watch for it to come back from seed this spring. The bloom-time is March-May.