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Black Bindweed

Scientific Name : Fallopia convolvulus syn. Polygonum convolvulus
Other names: Bedwine, Bunwede, Climbing Buckwheat, Devil, Wild Buckwheat, False Buckwheat
Family: Polygonaceae

This annual weed is native to the British Isles and can be found on arable ground as well as in some newer gardens. It is more common on lighter soils, but not on chalk. It can be mistaken for Field or Hedge Bindweed due to similarities in the leaves and in growth habit, but the flowers are very different.
The slender, smooth stems can be branched near to the base and can grow to over one metre as they twine around other plants of fences.
The leaves are heart-shaped and are hairless with smooth edges. They are arranged alternately on the stem with a long petiole and a sheath at the base which wraps around the stem, typical of the Polygonaceae Family.
Flowering occurs from July to October. They are small, cup-shaped with greenish-white sepals, arising in small clusters of 2 to 6 in the axils of the upper leaves and in short racemes at the end of some of the upper stems.
The black seed are relatively large at about 5mm across and can develop within a short period; there are usually both seeds and flowers on the plant at the same time. They have been fed to livestock, but there is a risk of undigested seeds returning to the feilds in manure. Germination is usually from March onwards, but rising temperatures in the summer causes dormancy to return. They can remain viable in soil for more than 5 years.

Treatment with a weedkiller is not usually needed in the garden situation as it is easily uprooted, but isolated growth can be treated with a contact herbicide. This should be done before the seed can develop to reduce reinfestation. If there is a large entanglement, severing the stems and removing the roots will kill the plant and the topgrowth will wither away.

image of Black Bindweed

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