Fallopia convolvulus

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Fallopia convolvulus

Category
Kingdom Plantae
Division
Class
Order Caryophyllales
Family Polygonaceae
Genus Fallopia
Varieties in this species
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Aden Earth Zone

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Cultivation

Characteristics

About

Fallopia convolvulus (Black-bindweed) is a fast-growing annual flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae native throughout Europe, Asia and northern Africa.<ref name=europe>Flora of NW Europe: Fallopia convolvulus</ref><ref name=china>Flora of China: Fallopia convolvulus</ref><ref name=pakistan>Flora of Pakistan: Fallopia convolvulus</ref><ref name=Blamey>Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C., 1989. Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2.</ref><ref name="ars-grin.gov">Germplasm Resources Information Network: Fallopia convolvulus</ref>

Synonyms include Polygonum convolvulus L. (basionym), Bilderdykia convolvulus (L.) Dumort, Fagopyrum convolvulus (L.) H.Gross, Fagopyrum carinatum Moench, Helxine convolvulus (L.) Raf., Reynoutria convolvulus (L.) Shinners, and Tiniaria convolvulus (L.) Webb & Moq.<ref name=china/><ref name=pakistan/> Other old folk names include bear-bind, bind-corn, climbing bindweed, climbing buckwheat, corn-bind, corn bindweed, devil's tether, and wild buckwheat.

Black-bindweed is a herbaceous vine growing to 1–1.5 m long, with stems that twine clockwise round other plant stems. The alternate triangular leaves are 1.5–6 cm long and 0.7–3 cm broad with a 6–15 (–50) mm petiole; the basal lobes of the leaves are pointed at the petiole. The flowers are small, and greenish-pink to greenish white, clustered on short racemes. These clusters give way to small triangular achenes, with one seed in each achene.<ref name=europe/><ref name=china/><ref name=pakistan/><ref name=arable>Phil Wilson & Miles King, Arable Plants – a field guide: Black-bindweed</ref>

While it superficially resemble true bindweeds (Convolvulus) there are many notable differences; it has ocrea (stipule-sheath at nodes), which true bindweeds do not; and bindweeds have conspicuous trumpet-shaped flowers while Black-bindweed has flowers that are unobtrusive and only about 4 mm long.<ref name=Blamey/>

Ecology

It grows most commonly on disturbed or cultivated land, in northern Europe typically on warm, sunny, well-drained sandy or limestone soil types,<ref name=Blamey/><ref name=arable/> but in hotter, drier areas like Pakistan, on moist shady sites.<ref name=pakistan/> It ranges from sea level in the north of its range, up to 3600 m altitude in the south in the Himalaya.<ref name=china/><ref name=pakistan/><ref name=Blamey/>

Cultivation and uses

The seeds are edible, and were used in the past as a food crop, with remains found in Bronze Age middens.<ref name=Blamey/> The seeds are too small and low-yielding to make a commercial crop, and it is now more widely considered a weed, occurring in crops, waste areas and roadsides. It can be a damaging weed when it is growing in a garden or crop, as it can not only damage the plant it entwines itself around, but can also hinder mechanised harvesting. It is also an invasive species in North America.<ref name="ars-grin.gov"/>

References

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