Book Review: Japanese Knotweed unearthing the truth by Nicholas Seal

Fallopia japonica, or Japanese Knotweed, is a plant whose infamy leads to a lot of misinformation (dare I say fake news?), misunderstanding and fear.  This book from Nicholas Seal aims to provide clear understanding to the history, taxonomy and what you really need to know about this plant.
This book was sent to me to review, I have not paid for it but my words and opinions are my own.

Nicholas starts by telling us the history of this plant and how it arrived in the UK and Europe.  It is a story that highlights how careful we have to be when introducing plants from their native environments.  No one realised at the time just how invasive this plant would be.  It can be reproduced by seed in the right environment and also by underground rhizomes.  These roots can run and run and push their way through the smallest weakness in concrete and between paving slabs.  Once it has taken hold it is very difficult to eradicate.  Actually saying 'very difficult' is an understatement.
It is not illegal to have Japanese Knotweed growing in your garden, contrary to common belief; but you do have a responsibility to control it and it can affect the value of your property and properties around you.  This books explains the legal framework in the UK around having the plant growing on your land and shows some of the impact the plant can have.  Usefully the book shows you what it looks like in its different stages of growth.  Not only is this plant feared, it easy to mis-identify.  Should you identify the plant on your land, Nicholas explains what the best course of action is to deal with it (contact an expert!)
Nicholas finishes the book by trying to cheer us up by giving us some good uses of the plant, including the fact that the young shoots are edible.

This is a very interesting book about a challenging subject for us gardeners.  Nicholas is an environmental scientist and the managing director of a company that eradicates Japanese Knotweed.  He is a recognised expert on this subject so you can understand why it is a subject that he is knowledgeable and keen to inform people about.

I liked the book, it is well written and beautifully (and usefully) illustrated. I now know a lot more about Japanese Knotweed than previously.

Japanese Knotweed - unearthing the truth by Nicholas Seal retails at around £14.99


  1. Does he discuss the perils of planting the variegated forms?

    1. No he doesn’t - the book just focuses on this specific one


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