Convulvulus arvensis is commonly known as Bindweed

As part of our series of plants commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed, we look at another plant closely related to Japanese knotweed in its looks and/or characteristics.

Bindweed is a perennial vining plant that snakes its way across the ground and over fences, plants, or any other stationary thing in its path. It has medium-green, arrow-shaped leaves and white-pinkish flowers that look like those of morning glories.

Bindweed is known for its climbing nature and can sometimes be found interwoven with other plants. Whereas Japanese knotweed stands are strong and stand tall.

Bindweed (also known as Convolvulus Arvensis) is one of the more common perennial climbing/creeping weeds. This destructive weed is known for its ability to smother incumbent garden plants and overwhelm borders in as little as 2-4 months.

Their roots can reach 7 metres deep and can grow aggressively, as any gardener that has had the displeasure of having it grow in their garden would know.

Common NameHedge Bindweed/ Field Bindweed
Scientific NameCalystegia sepium/ Convolvulus arvensis
Weed TypeAquatic
Areas AffectedUncultivated ground, beds, borders, paths, drives and lawns
Main CausesTwining weed with creeping underground stems (rhizomes)
SeasonSeen spring to autumn; treat from summer to autumn
Bindweed is just one of many plants mistaken for Japanese knotweed
Bindweed is just one of many plants mistaken for Japanese knotweed

Identification and Occurrence

Bindweed is also known as wild morning glory because it has a similar appearance to morning glory. A thin stalk, elongated leaves shaped like arrowheads, and trumpet-shaped flowers in both pink and white are among them.

The thin vines that become closely entangled with other plants or growing items in the garden are typically the first signs of bindweed.

The Problem

New plants can develop from even the smallest section of the root of the bindweed seed, which can lie dormant in the soil for several years (rhizome).

Bindweed root fragments are often unintentionally introduced into gardens among the roots of other plants, as well as in soils and manures. It only takes one growing season for bindweed to spread two metres once it is established.

Similarities to Japanese Knotweed

The leaf shape in Bindweed is heart-shaped and is comparable to knotweed. However, Bindweed does not have a flat edge as knotweed does.

Differences between Bindweed and Japanese Knotweed

The biggest difference between bindweed and Japanese knotweed is the strength it posses to wrap itself around other plants. Bindweed cannot stand up by itself and needs to bind itself around other plants (hence the name).

Japanese knotweed will never entwine another plant; it simply grows over the top of them.

However, some things to notice which are different to the Japanese Knotweed is that it flowers in early summer and they are trumpet-shaped. Whereas Japanese Knotweed flowers are in small clusters and flower in later summer to early Autumn.

Bindweed climbs with strong twining stems and has large heart-shaped leaves and large white trumpet flowers.
Bindweed climbs with strong twining stems and has large heart-shaped leaves and large white trumpet flowers.

Interesting Facts about Bindweed

  • Common and botanical names include: Hedge bindweed, Bellbind (Calystegia sepium) and Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis).
  • Areas affected include uncultivated ground, beds, borders, paths, drives and lawns.
  • Strong twining weed with creeping underground stems (rhizomes) similar to Japanese knotweed.
  • Timing is seen from spring to autumn. Treat from summer to autumn.

What to do if you are still unsure?

If you are unsure if you have Japanese Knotweed or Bindweed growing on your land then you can contact a local Japanese knotweed specialist who will help you identify what you have on your land. Most specialists these days offer a free photo identification service to clarify what you have and whether it needs investigating more.

Click here to return to the ‘Plants that look like Knotweed’ page.

Want to know more?

Knotweed Removal aims to provide the most up-to-date information, help and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain about how to proceed, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.

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Do not forget we have a library of blogs covering many areas relevant to Japanese Knotweed, our free downloadable How-to Guides and Product Reviews on the latest methods being employed to eradicate or remove Japanese Knotweed.

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