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Alpine Bistort | Sapangaralaannguat Tuqtaillu ᓴᐸᖓᕋᓛᙳᐊᑦ ᑐᖅᑕᐃᓪᓗ
Alpine Bistort | Sapangaralaannguat Tuqtaillu | ᓴᐸᖓᕋᓛᙳᐊᑦ ᑐᖅᑕᐃᓪᓗ

Other common name: Inuit nuts Scientific name: Bistorta vivipara Inuktitut name: Sapangaralannguat, turlait, tuqtait, Inuit qaqquangang

photo: Viviparous Knotweed (Bistorta vivipara), Grimsdalen, Rondane National Park, Norway
-Jörg Hempel
Polygonum spp.
leaves and shoots are edible raw.
rhizome can be eaten raw.
rhizome can be steeped in water, roasted/dried, and ground into flour.
rhizome is suitable for use as a potherb.
seeds are edible, either roasted whole or ground into meal/flour.
small bulblets can be eaten raw.
plant is rich in vitamin C.
varieties in the Pacific Northwest include American bistort (Bistorta bistortoides) and Alpine bistort (Bistorta vivipara).
grows in moist, open areas on montane, alpine, and subalpine slopes.
warning: eating raw plants in large quantities can cause diarrhea.

The bulbils sometimes start to develop leaves even before they drop off the mother plant. In fact, if you pick some Alpine bistort and put it in a glass of water, you can watch the bulbils grow their tiny leaves, as they get ready to drop off. Once they drop off, try planting some and see what happens!
Traditional Use: The Inuit name, Sapangaralannguat, means, “imitation small beads.” The underground parts are small, about the size of almonds, and they are best dug before the plants begin to put out leaves in the spring. In Iqaluit, they are called Inuit nuts and are said to taste a bit like almonds. The Inuit eat the leaves and bulbils, and also dig up the rhizome, which can be eaten raw or cooked.
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