Fallopia convolvulus

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Fallopia convolvulus

Kingdom Plantae
Order Caryophyllales
Family Polygonaceae
Genus Fallopia
Varieties in this species
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Fallopia convolvulus (Black-bindweed) is a fast-growing annual flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae native throughout Europe, Asia and northern Africa.[1][2][3][4][5]

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.[2][3] 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.[1][2][3][6]

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.[4]


It grows most commonly on disturbed or cultivated land, in northern Europe typically on warm, sunny, well-drained sandy or limestone soil types,[4][6] but in hotter, drier areas like Pakistan, on moist shady sites.[3] It ranges from sea level in the north of its range, up to 3600 m altitude in the south in the Himalaya.[2][3][4]

Cultivation and uses

The seeds are edible, and were used in the past as a food crop, with remains found in Bronze Age middens.[4] 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.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Flora of NW Europe: Fallopia convolvulus
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Flora of China: Fallopia convolvulus
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Flora of Pakistan: Fallopia convolvulus
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C., 1989. Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Germplasm Resources Information Network: Fallopia convolvulus
  6. 6.0 6.1 Phil Wilson & Miles King, Arable Plants – a field guide: Black-bindweed