Russian Vine can be mistaken for Japanese Knotweed

Fallopia baldschuanica is commonly known as Russian Vine

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, Russian vine weed.

It is also fast-growing and will choke anything that is growing in its path, meaning it will overtake your garden. Commonly known by gardeners as ‘mile-a-minute’ due to its fast growth rate.

Russian vine is a weed that needs to be removed. It grows quickly and can choke out other plants. Russian vine is also poisonous, so it’s important to be careful when removing it.

Similarities to Japanese Knotweed

Russian vine, aka Bukhara fleece flower, is very similar to Japanese knotweed with it being in the same Fallopia family of plants. It flowers in August and September and these flowers are also small and white, which is like Japanese Knotweed.

Russian vine has similar white flowers and has the ability to grow rapidly, quickly overwhelming other garden plants. Knotweed canes in the winter have a very similar appearance to bamboo, which is often why it is not spotted during this time.

Japanese knotweed is an invasive species in the United States. It has many similar features to Russian vine, which also threatens native plant life and animal habitats.

The two plants are both very hardy and highly adaptive to different environments, but Japanese knotweed is more aggressive than Russian vine.

A distinguishing feature of Japanese knotweed is that it can be identified by its white flowers with purple spots on them while Russian vines have greenish-white flowers without any purple markings.

Russian vine is commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed
Russian vine is commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed

Distinguishing between Russian Vine and Japanese Knotweed

Whilst its flowering structure and masses of green leaves are arguably a red herring, the key difference here is that the vine is a climbing plant that relies on other structures, be it plants or buildings, to grow upwards, as opposed to Japanese knotweed which supports itself.

Russian vine is perhaps the most similar to Japanese knotweed in purely biological terms. It is the same genus and can even pollinate the female Japanese knotweed (though this rarely results in a viable hybrid). Like knotweed, it also has spade-shaped leaves and grows at an exponential rate.

Like Bindweed, the Russian vine is another plant that needs to twist itself around something solid, like another plant or a man-made structure like pipes. Unlike Japanese knotweed, it will never exhibit this behaviour.

Russian vine leaves in late autumn and easily mistaken for Japanese knotweed
Russian vine leaves in late autumn and easily mistaken for Japanese knotweed

Interesting Facts about Russian Vine

  • The leaves of the Russian Vine are pointed nearly triangular.
  • The leaves can grow up to lengths of about 10 centimetres.

What to do if you are still unsure?

If you are unsure if you have Japanese Knotweed or Russian vine 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.

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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.

The best means to contact us is via our email –

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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