What Is Japanese Knotweed?

Step #1 – find out what Japanese Knotweed looks like

Make no mistake, Japanese Knotweed, or Fallopia Japonica, a rhizomatous perennial plant, is a ferocious creature. Native to Japan, Korea and parts of East Asia and China, the extent of its growth is combated by fungus and insects so Japanese Knotweed does not present the same problem there as it does in the western world, thousands of miles from its natural habitat.

Introduced into Europe in the 19th century as an ornamental plant, as well to provide ground cover and fodder, it’s brought untold worry and turmoil to grounds everywhere ever since. So why is it so destructive?

In Victorian Britain, travelling the globe was popular amongst the upper classes. Botany; the study and collecting of plants was also very popular in this age of science and reason, meaning many exotic species found their way on to British soil. The gardens of the aristocracy were crammed with species from their travels, and should a species fail to thrive or simply go out of vogue, it would be dug up and discarded. Japanese Knotweed was one such plant.

Dumped in disused quarries, waterways or anywhere conveniently out of sight, Japanese Knotweed thrived. Tiny fragments of stem, or rhizome can easily take root and regrow into new plants, and the original root system would regrow just as quickly. Getting rid of Japanese Knotweed is easier said than done, especially since each years its regrowth would be chopped and dumped, exacerbating its spread, year on year.

It is only in recent decades that the full extent of this relentlessly growing plant which seemingly refuses to die has been realised, and as a result, the transportation and disposal of Japanese Knotweed stems, roots and contaminated soil is now strictly controlled.

As Japanese Knotweed contractors and consultants we are here to help anywhere in the UK.


How to identify Japanese knotweed?

See our educational video on the right side of the page – one of our specialists explains what the key knotweed charateristics are, so that you can be able to determine on your own whether the weed plague your garden is struggling with is actually Japanese knotweed. We also suggest some less invasive methods how to kill Japanese knotweed before you are forced to bring in a team of professionals.

What does Japanese knot weed look like?

The different seasons bring out a wide variety of characteristics of Japanese Knotweed. Below are the different images and descriptions of Japanese knotweed life cycle throughout different seasons of the year. These should give you a better insight on how to identify Japanese Knotweed and allow you to decide whether or not you have an issue. However, if you are a land owner and still in doubt please email us a range of photos and we will be able to assist you further.




  • The first signs of Japanese Knotweed growth, Usually the early signs of growth are seen in mid-March
  • Distinctive red and purple shoots – often accompanied by rolled back leaves which grow rapidly from the stored nutrients in the rhizome.


  • The stem resembles bamboo, though more green in colour with purple speckles.
  • Inside the cane are distinctive chambers that retain water and nutrients.
  • The leaves are large and have pointed tips that extend from the stem in a zig-zag pattern.
  • Later in the season creamy-white flowers hang in clusters from the stalks.



    Japanese knotweed in winter:

  • As the first frosts appear the plants leaves will turn brown and the plant withdraws back into its rhizome.
  • The canes lose their colour and turn into woody stalks which can take years to decompose.
  • New shoots can be found growing through the dead canes in the early Spring.

DIY Japanese knotweed eradication

What are the established standards for removing knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed Specialists have created this video to promote the innovative Japanese Knotweed & Other Invasive Weeds Framework. The framework enables members to gain access to professional help for treatment and removal of Japanese knotweed plants. Our framework is fully compliant with all EU regulations regarding herbicides control and it helps you to prevent physical damage to buildings and harm to the environment during the process of elimination of notorious weeds.