climbing false buckwheat

(Fallopia scandens)

Conservation Status
climbing false buckwheat
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


Climbing false buckwheat is a native, weedy, herbaceous vine. It occurs in the United States from the East Coast to the Great Plains, in adjacent Canadian provinces, and in Mexico. It is common in Minnesota. It is found in thickets and open floodplain forests, at the edges of forests and woodlands, on river banks and fence rows, and in ditches and disturbed sites. It grows under partial sun in moist to moderately moist conditions in fertile, loamy soil. It usually climbs over adjacent vegetation, and can smother small shrubs. In open areas it sprawls on the ground and forms mats.

Climbing false buckwheat is a perennial vine that rises from fibrous roots and sometimes a taproot. The stem is freely branched, slender, and up to 17 (5 m) long. It spirals around whatever it touches (twining), usually other vegetation. It may be round, angular, or slightly ridged; is slightly swollen at each node; and is often reddish where exposed to the sun. It may be hairless or sparsely to moderately covered with minute, downward curved hairs on the ridges.

The leaves are alternate, up to 5½ (14 cm) long, and up to 2¾ (7 cm) wide. Lower leaves are large and are on long stalks (petioles) that can be up to 4 (10 cm) in length. Upper leaves are much smaller and on much shorter petioles. The petioles may be hairless or somewhat roughened with lines of short, stiff hairs. There is a small, tan to greenish-brown, membranous sheath (ocrea) that surrounds the stem at the base of each petiole. The ocrea does not have bristles or a fringe of hairs. The leaf blade is usually more or less heart-shaped, sometimes arrow-shaped with the basal lobes parallel or slightly spreading. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is minutely roughened and often powdery (mealy), never whitish and waxy (glaucous). The margins are untoothed and somewhat wavy.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, spike-like, ¾ to 4 long arrangement (raceme) of several clusters of 3 to 6 flowers each at the end of the stem and each branch, and also rising from the leaf axils. The racemes are usually held more or less erect, sometimes horizontally. The clusters are stalkless or on stalks (peduncles) up to 2¾ long. The individual flowers are on to 5 16 (3 to 8 mm) long stalks (pedicels). The pedicels are held erect while in bloom but droop downward as the fruit develops. The central axis of the inflorescence (rachis) is somewhat roughened with lines of short, stiff hairs.

The flowers are to 516 (3.8 to 8 mm) long including the stipe-like base. There are 5 tepals, 8 stamens, and 3 styles. The tepals are white, greenish-white, or tinged pinkish, and to 3 16 (3 to 5 mm) long when in bloom. They are in two whorls. The inner two tepals are shorter and elliptic. The outer three are inversely egg-shaped and are conspicuously winged. The stamens do not protrude beyond the tepals. The styles are very short and are fused for most of their length. The stigmas are cap-like.

The fruit is a smooth, shiny, dark brown to black, 3-angled, 116 to ¼ (2 to 6 mm) long, 132 to (1.4 to 3.5 mm) wide, seed capsule (achene). It is entirely enclosed within 3 persistent, keeled and conspicuously winged tepals. The fruit is green at first and the wings are flat. At maturity, the fruit is brown and the wings are wavy or lacerated.




Vine: 40 to 500 (1 to 5 m) long


Flower Color


White, greenish-white, or pinkish


Similar Species


Black bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus) flowers and fruits are keeled but not winged. The achenes are dull, black, and rough.


Moist to moderately moist. Thickets, edges of woodlands and forests, open floodplain woodlands, river banks, fence rows, ditches, and disturbed sites.




August to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  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  


Fallopia (false buckwheat)  

Subordinate Taxa






Bilderdykia cristata

Bilderdykia scandens

Polygonum cristatum

Polygonum dumetorum var. scandens

Polygonum scandens

Polygonum scandens var. cristatum

Polygonum scandens var. scandens

Reynoutria scandens

Reynoutria scandens var. cristata

Tiniaria cristata

Tiniaria scandens


Common Names


climbing buckwheat

climbing false buckwheat

false buckwheat










A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded seed capsule, 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.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.



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



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.



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



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.



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



A thin, flat, membranous, usually transparent appendage on the margin of a structure.









Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.



Growing on the shore, wrapping itself around another tree.

    climbing false buckwheat   climbing false buckwheat  








Visitor Videos

Share your video of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos



Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this plant.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.
September 2021

Location: Fairview Twp., Cass County

climbing false buckwheat





Created: 10/31/2021

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © All rights reserved.