Fallopia convolvulus (Black-bindweed)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Life cycle:annual
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil; waste areas, roadsides, fields, urban landscapes
Bloom season:June - October
Plant height:8 to 40 inch vine
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Erect, spindly, unbranched racemes to 3 inches long in leaf axils along most of the stem. Flowers are 1/8 inch long, greenish white, sometimes tinged purplish, with usually 5 tepals (petals and similar sepals) that are generally oval and barely spreading. 8 stamens surround a green column in the center. Flower stalks are slender and hairless or with a few rough scales on the upper end.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are simple and alternate, ½ to 3 inches long and up to 2 inches wide, heart to arrowhead shaped, the basal lobes often sharply angled, and tapering to a sharply pointed tip. Leaf edges are toothless but somewhat wavy. Surfaces are minimally rough textured from short, hair-like projections (scabrid) along the lower veins, leaf edges, and in rows on the slender stalk. A small sheath at the base of the leaf stalk, called an ocreae, is shed as the leaves become mature. Stems are twining across the ground or on surrounding vegetation, often becoming reddish with age in dry sunny locations and have rows of short, rough hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is 3-sided, less than ¼ inch long. Inside the husk is a seed covered with minute, granular projections (tuburcles); the seed ripens to dull black.


Black-bindweed is one of three common vining species in the Fallopia genus in Minnesota and the only non-native of the three. It can be distinguished from the native Fringed Black-bindweed (Fallopia cilinodis), which has darker green leaves with pronounced veins, a ring of fine cilia hairs at the base of the leaf stalk, and denser, branched clusters of conspicuously open, white flowers. The other native, Climbing False Buckwheat (Fallopia scandens), is similar to Black-bindweed as it lacks the cilia fringe at the leaf nodes and its flower clusters are also generally unbranched, but its small obscure flowers develop quickly into large hanging fruits with prominent wings on the three outer tepals and its mature seeds are smooth, shiny black, where Black-bindweed fruits are wingless and mature seeds are dull black and textured.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey, Scott and Sherburne counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Tracy C - Jordan
on: 2017-08-22 15:17:00

I have black bindweed vines overtaking my rose garden this year. They're kind of pretty, so I wouldn't mind if they were growing alone on a trellis or something, but they're intertwining with and overwelming the roses and Sweet William. This is the fifth year I've lived here, and I inherited the garden from the previous owners, and I'm not a great gardener by any means, but I'm pretty sure this is the first year I've seen these.

Posted by: Brooke Borg - Minneapolis
on: 2018-07-13 17:40:42

We recently bought a house with an overgrown garden bed and this bindweed was all over the chain link fence, the sedum, hosta, and irises. . It loves to overwhelm the "nice" plants.

Posted by: Helen Stoerzinger - Inver Grove Heights, Dakota County
on: 2018-08-02 13:50:48

I have vines in wild areas of our land that have leaves similar to this, but also have stems that are like nylon fishing line. The leaves are usually leaflets of three, shaped like the ace of spades, and I haven't seen flowers. Do you know what it is?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-08-02 20:06:44

Helen, you might have one of the other Fallopia vines. It pops up in my garden now and then.

Posted by: Elizabeth therkilsen - New Hope
on: 2021-06-12 18:50:08

This plant is growing all over our gardens. It's delicate and beautiful, but wraps itself around all other plants, possibly damaging them. Easy to pull but also reappears immediately, i.e., invasive. A bear to get rid of manually, and I avoid chemical pesticides.

Posted by: Barb - Duluth
on: 2022-08-28 15:27:26

I have BlackBird weed suddenly apeered 2 years ago. How do we get rid of it...

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-08-28 16:35:38

Barb, pull it out, or resort to chemical warfare.

Posted by: Karen S - Remer, MN. Cass County
on: 2022-09-26 08:06:57

I have 3 vegetable gardens and this year for some reason I noticed that some of my tomato plants, dill,pole beans and cantaloupe were all of a sudden dying off.The culprit? This pain in the butt Black Bindweed!I agree with Elizabeth from New Hope when she says you can pull them out only to have them come back in a flash! I'll have no other choice to use chemical warfare on them in the future! I spend too much time and money to have it attack and choke out my garden!! Is there a specific chemical that will kill this weed but be ok for my vegetables planted? I appreciate any help I can get! Many thanks!

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-09-26 08:22:27

Karen, we don't have any information on specific control measures for this species. Google is your friend.

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