black bindweed

(Fallopia convolvulus)

Conservation Status
black bindweed
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Black bindweed is an annual vine that rises on a single stem from deep, fibrous roots. It does not produce rhizomes. It climbs by spiraling counter-clockwise (twining) around the stem of another plant.

The stems are trailing or twining, 20 to 40 long, light green or bright red, not woody (herbaceous), not glaucous, slightly angled, and freely branched at the base. They are somewhat rough to the touch due to the presence of short, stiff hairs that are often arranged in lines. The stems and leaves do not have a milky latex.

The leaves are alternate, widely spaced, ¾ to 2 long, and ¾ to 2 wide. They are on 3 16 to 2 long leaf stalks. The leaf stalks are somewhat roughened with lines of short, stiff hairs. There is a small, hairless, membraneous sheath (ocrea) that surrounds the stem at the base of each leaf stalk. The leaf blade is heart-shaped or arrow-shaped with the basal lobes sometimes directed inwards, though this may not be apparent. It is sharply pointed at the tip with curved sides along the tip. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is usually powdery (mealy) and is not glaucous. The margins are untoothed and somewhat wavy.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, spike-like, ¾ to 4 long arrangement of several clusters of 3 to 6 flowers each at the end of the stems and branches and also rising from the leaf axils. The clusters are stalkless or on stalks up to 4 long. The individual flowers are on 1 32 to long stalks. The central axis of the inflorescence (rachis) is somewhat roughened with lines of short, stiff hairs.

Each flower is to 3 16 long. There are 5 elliptic to inversely egg-shaped tepals. The tepals are greenish white and often have a pink or purple tinge at the base. The outer 3 tepals are ridged (keeled) but not winged.

The fruit is a dull, black, slightly roughened, 3-angled achene. It is entirely enclosed within the 3 green, persistent, keeled but not winged sepals.




Twining, 20 to 40 long


Flower Color




Similar Species


Climbing false buckwheat (Fallopia scandens) flowers and fruits are winged. The sides of the black achene are shiny and smooth.

Fringed black bindweed (Fallopia cilinodis) ocrea has stiff, downward-pointing hairs.

Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is a longer vine, reaching up to 6½ in length. The stems and leaves have a milky latex. The leaf stalk does not have an ocrea at the base. The flower is large, showy, and trumpet-shaped. The fruit is a capsule.

Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) is a longer vine, reaching up to 10 in length. The stems and leaves have a milky latex. The leaf stalk does not have an ocrea at the base. The flower is large, showy, and trumpet-shaped. The fruit is a capsule.


Cultivated grain fields, railroads, roadsides, disturbed areas. Full sun.




May to October


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29, 30.




Native of northern Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Introduced and naturalized in North America.





Black bindweed is found in every state, province, and territory in North America except Nunavut.

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  


Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  


Polygonaceae (knotweed)  
  Subfamily Polygonoideae  
  Tribe Polygoneae  
  Subtribe Reynoutriinae  



Subordinate Taxa






Bilderdykia convolvulus

Polygonum convolvulus var. convolvulus

Reynoutria convolvulus

Tiniaria convolvulus


Common Names


black bindweed

climbing buckwheat


dullseed cornbind

wild buckwheat












A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



A plant without a persistent, above-ground, woody stem, with the leaves and stems usually dying back to the ground at the end of the growing season.



Folded, as in a grass blade, or with a raised ridge, as in a grass sheath; like the keel of a boat.



A sheath around the stem at the base of a petiole formed from the stipules; a feature of many members of the Polygonaceae.



The main axis of a compound leaf, appearing as an extension of the leaf stalk; the main axis of an inflorescence.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.



Prostrate on the ground and creeping, but not rooting at the tip.



Growing in a spiral usually around a stem of another plant that serves as support.

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    black bindweed   black bindweed  






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Other Videos
  Leaf-cutter Bee (Megachile centuncularis) at work
Jochem Kuhnen

Published on Jul 8, 2012

A Leaf-cutter Bee (Megachile centuncularis) at work cutting out a fragment of Black Bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus). There were hardly any intact leafs left! Filmed in Nijmegen's city centre on July 7th 2012.




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