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All About Black Bindweed

Do you have an unwelcome vine tangling around your other plants in your backyard? The culprit might be Black Bindweed.

Black Bindweed is the only non-native of three common vining species (including Fringed Black-bindweed and Climbing False Buckwheat) in Minnesota. This vine can be found worldwide, not just in the Midwest, so let’s get to know it better.

Read on to learn more about how to this vine, problems caused by the weed, how to get rid of it, and a surprising use of Black Bindweed.

black bindweed

History of Black Bindweed

This weed is a member of the Polygonaceae (Buckwheat) family. Evidence shows that Black Bindweed, or Fallopia convolvulus, seeds were gathered by Eurasians from the Bronze Age, around 3000 to 1000 BC.

Today, this weed has spread worldwide, and gardeners find it frustrating because it can entangle itself around other crops. Black b
Bindweed is sometimes called bedwine, bunwede, climbing buckwheat, and the devil.

The weed is often seen in waste areas, gardens, roadsides, urban landscapes, and pastures. It can grow anywhere and often grows in the most inconvenient places, causing all kinds of frustration.

How to Identify Black Bindweed

Fallopia convolvulus, Bilderdykia convolvulus, Black Bindweed, Polygonaceae. Wild plant shot in summer.

Black Bindweed is a summer annual that grows up to eight feet long and is known for infrequently branching anywhere besides the base.

Fallopia convolvulus normally blooms between July and August, though sometimes it can flower as late as October. Before the flowers bloom, it’s often mistaken for Field Bindweed.

Flower individuals or flower pairs develop on the upper leaves’ center line on short, thin stems. Shorter flowers, about one to two inches long, also develop in the upper stems. The flowers have three to five petal parts, which are colored white, greenish, or light pink.

You can identify this plant with a variety of clues like these:

  • Alternating, straightforward heart-shaped leaves
  • A vine that twines from right to left
  • Its flowers do not have petals

The weed can be identified separately from Fringed Black Bindweed and Climbing False Buckwheat because their flowers are wingless, plus the mature seeds are textured and have a dulled black color. Fringed Black Bindweed also has darker leaves and more noticeable veins.

Black Bindweed also resembles Morning Glories (Ipomoea purpurea); however, the weed is shorter and less robust than the popular flower vine. Morning Glories are also much prettier.

Problems Caused by Black Bindweed

Black Bindweed spreads fast because its seeds spread to surrounding areas. The biggest problem caused by is it grows tall and entangles itself around surrounding plants. This makes it challenging to get rid of it without damaging existing vegetation.

If Black Bindweed is not controlled, it can obstruct and suffocate the surrounding plants. It is difficult to remove by hand because the roots break, and any remaining sections will re-grow.

How to Get Rid of Black Bindweed

Fallopia convolvulus, Bilderdykia convolvulus, Black Bindweed, Polygonaceae. Wild plant shot in summer.

Although Black Bindweed isn’t easy to eradicate from gardens, let’s talk about a couple of methods you can try to get rid of this pesky weed once and for all.

Fortunately, getting rid of Black Bindweed is similar to eliminating all types of bindweed, so you can kill all the types of bindweed in your garden with the following methods.


Cut It Young

Getting rid of the weed when it’s young before it spreads all over your garden is easiest. Young seedlings can be destroyed when cut down to their root below the soil. Please do not wait for them to grow; the roots will break too easily to remove fully.


Go heavy on the mulch. Black Bindweed needs sun to grow, so mulch can discourage it from growing and taking over your garden. You must replace your mulch frequently to keep the weed at bay.

Boiling Water

This might be the most effective method to kill the weed if you don’t want to use weed killer sprays on your lawn. Pour boiling water over the affected areas and three inches beyond where the weed grows to kill as much of the root as possible.

You may have to do this several times until all signs of the weed have disappeared.

Remove Impacted Plants

If your plants are entangled in piles of this Black Bindweed, you will have to dig up the plants and untangle the weeds. Temporarily repot the plants until you can control the weeds.

If you are gardening organically, you should cover the whole area with a black landscape cover and leave it for a year before replanting.


If you are spraying an area of your garden with your beloved plants, you should dig up the plants you want to save before applying any spray to ensure you do not harm them with weed killer. Wait a few weeks after all the weeds have died before replanting them to guarantee the safety of your plants.

The best weed killers for Black Bindweed are Glyphosate herbicides. The weeds absorb these herbicides and move throughout the plant to kill roots and shoots. The best time to spray weed killer is when the weed is flowering.

Here are the best sprays for to get rid of this pesky weed:

Using Black Bindweed

Farmers like to ground the seed into a powder and use it as a gruel or a mix-in with cereals. Black Bindweed seeds are commonly fed to livestock and are considered valuable for grain mixtures.

You need to ground the seeds before using them because the coats have been shown to cause digestive issues in animals who have eaten the full seed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fallopia convolvulus, Bilderdykia convolvulus, Black Bindweed, Polygonaceae. Wild plant shot in summer.

Is Black Bindweed poisonous?

It’s not poisonous to humans or pets, but it is dangerous to be left alone in your garden with your plants due to its tendency to smother other plants.

Does mowing spread Black Bindweed?

Black Bindweed can spread easily by animals, irrigation, and machinery, including lawnmowers. However, grain transport has been the number one spread of the weed since it is such a popular livestock feed.

Wrapping up Black Bindweed

Now you know all the details about identifying, controlling, and using Black Bindweed. If you have livestock, consider adding the seed to their diet.

If you feel like you need to learn more about these pesky garden tenants, check out our weeds page to learn all about different weed varieties, treatment options, and surprising information.