Taxobox | name = Water-pepper

image_width = 200px
regnum = Plantae
phylum = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Caryophyllales
familia = Polygonaceae
genus = "Persicaria"
species = "P. hydropiper"
binomial = "Persicaria hydropiper"
binomial_authority = (L.) Spach

Water-pepper or Water pepper ("Persicaria hydropiper", syn. "Polygonum hydropiper") is a plant of the family Polygonaceae. It grows in damp places and shallow water; a native of the temperate zones of the Northern hemisphere. It has some use as a spice because of its pungent flavour.

Active ingredients

The water-pepper has the following active ingredients: 2 bicyclic sesquiterpenoids, polygodial (tadeonal, an unsaturated dialdehyde with a drimane backbone) and waburganal which has been found responsible for the pungent taste (hence its edibility);M Jonassohn (1996)Sesquiterpenoid unsaturated dialdehydes - Structural properties that affect reactivity and bioactivity. Doctoral thesis, Lund University, Sweden. ISBN 91-628-2215-2. PDF| [http://www.organic.lu.se/Publications/Ph.%20D.%20theses/Jonassohn.pdf] |730 KiB ] rutin (see rue) is the source of the bitter taste impression.

The plant contains an essential oil (0.5%) which consists of monoterpenoids and sesquiterpenoids: α-pinene, β-pinene, 1,4-cineol, fenchone, α-humulene, β-caryophyllene, trans-β-bergamotene. Carboxylic acids (cinnamic, valeric and caproic acid) and their esters were present in traces. The composition depends strongly on genetic factors.


In Japan this plant's leaves are used as a vegetable - it should be noted that these are from the cultivar, not the wild type which has a far more pungent taste.

The seeds of the water-pepper are used in wasabi.



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(Polyganum hydropiper)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Water pepper — Wa ter pep per (Bot.) (a) Smartweed. (b) Waterwort. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • water pepper — n. any of several polygonums growing in wet places and having an acrid juice, as smartweed * * * …   Universalium

  • water pepper — n. any of several polygonums growing in wet places and having an acrid juice, as smartweed …   English World dictionary

  • water pepper — noun Date: circa 1538 an annual European smartweed (Polygonum hydropiper) of moist soils with extremely acrid peppery juice that is naturalized in North America; also a related American perennial (P. hydropiperoides) with mildly acrid juice …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • water pepper — noun an aquatic plant of the dock family with peppery tasting leaves and irritant sap. [Polygonum hydropiper and related species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • water-pepper — n. Smart weed (Polyganum hydropiper) …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • water pepper — noun : a widely distributed annual smartweed (Polygonum hydropiper) of moist soils having greenish flowers and extremely acrid peppery juice and formerly used in medicine for its irritant and stimulant properties …   Useful english dictionary

  • water-pepper — …   Useful english dictionary

  • pepper — noun 1》 a pungent, hot tasting powder prepared from dried and ground peppercorns, used to flavour food. 2》 a climbing vine with berries that are dried as black or white peppercorns. [Piper nigrum.]     ↘used in names of related plants having hot… …   English new terms dictionary

  • water — n. & v. n. 1 a colourless transparent odourless tasteless liquid compound of oxygen and hydrogen. Usage: Chem. formula: H2O 2 a liquid consisting chiefly of this and found in seas, lakes, and rivers, in rain, and in secretions of organisms. 3 an… …   Useful english dictionary

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