Persicaria microcephala

Red dragon

Family: Polygonaceae

Origin: China

Red Dragon plant with small flowers.
A striking plant from China that has red and green coloured leaves. A climbing, scrambling plant that can take over a garden if not managed.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Climbing, scrambling, rhizomatous, perennial, herbaceous vine. Leaves turn red in spring. Flowers are small, white/pink and borne in inflorescences in autumn.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment, from 1 September 2021, you:

  • will not be allowed to breed, distribute, release or sell red dragon within the Auckland region.
  • will not be allowed to plant red dragon within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • must destroy any red dragon on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Riparian and forest margins.


Vegetative spread from rhizome and stem fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

Forms dense mats up to 1 m tall or taller and scrambles over vegetation.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray in summer with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green and 3g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Red Dragon growing in a home garden.
Stems are dark red and contrast well with the green and red leaves. Small flowers are formed on small upright branches.