Small Bistort, Welch, or Alpine; the Polygonum.viviparum, L. is likewise an indigenous plant, which grows on the moorlands in several parts of Westmoreland and the North Riding of Yorkshire : it has a smaller root than the pre-ceding species ; a simple slender stem, six inches high, spear-shaped leaves, and the staiks and branches terminate by spikes of whitish red flowers, which appear in June or July, and bear seeds in August.— See With. 383 ; and Eng. Bot.
Although we have no distinct account of the economical and physical uses of this plant, yet it may be rationally inferred, that it is not inferior to the preceding species. Indeed, Gmelin informs us, that its root is so far from being astringent, in the island of Kamt-schatka, that the inhabitants eat it in a raw state; and Steller, a late traveller, found it sufficiently sweet and nutritive, to support him without any other aliment, for several days. The Samoiedes also eat it as a sweet and wholesome food. Several other nations dry and reduce this root to flour, of which they bake good bread. If credit be due to Oloff, who has visited Iceland, the inhabitants of that inhospitable climate make bread, even of the ?mall knots which grow on the upper part of the stalk.