Our initial interaction with clients usually starts with the subject of Japanese knotweed identification. Photos sent are examined, and sites visited to determine whether the species in question is Japanese knotweed. In some instances it could be a hybrid, or simply a similar looking plant. We are always happy to do this, however we thought it would be great to provide a guide to the identification of Japanese knotweed. We thought that this would help you to determine for yourself whether the plant is present. It would also enable you to understand more about the issues associated with the plant and its various treatment methods.
Japanese knotweed emerges in the spring as small asparagus-like shoots that unravel to reveal red/purple leaves and stems. As the plant matures it forms purple speckled canes that are similar to bamboo. A zigzag leaf structure then emerges from the nodes displaying the familiar shield-shaped leaves. In the summer Japanese knotweed can reach a height of over 3 metres, with masses of green leaves and clusters of tiny creamy/white flowers. Yet despite falling back to a crown of broken stems in the the autumn/winter months, the plant will return with renewed vigour the following season. Energy from the growth above ground is drawn back into the root or rhizome in readiness for the spring.
There is a lot to admire about the Japanese knotweed plant, however its resilience is the main reason that it creates problems for people. The botanist who introduced the species extracted his samples from the side of a volcano. It’s ability to deal with harsh terrain and put down root network earned the admiration of the railway industry who used it to shore up embankments. These days it can make it difficult to obtain a mortgage and can prevent you from developing land. For this reason it is useful to understand the basics of Japanese knotweed identification.
Download our guide:
How to identify Japanese knotweed
It provides further information on what to look for at various times of the year, problems associated with Japanese knotweed, treatment methods and other useful sources of information.