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Unwelcome Bindweed

All bindweeds have arrow shaped leaves on long stems, and their underground rhizomes are hard to dig up.

bindweed

Photo: Evelyn Simak (Geograph)

Convolvulus or Great bindweed.

Convolvulus sepium is a member of the morning glory family and has similar shaped flowers, but it is not valued by gardeners.

It has the nasty habit of twining itself insidiously around host plants, spiraling counter clockwise around erect stems or fences to support itself in its strangulating habit. It is native to both Europe and North America from Canada to the Eastern half of the United States and also in the mountain states and the Pacific Northwest. It is perennial and can grow up to 15 feet, climbing on its neighbors for support.

Most bindweeds, as they are commonly called, have white flowers, but they can also be crimson, pink or yellow. Some have flowers that remain closed on days when there is no sun. They all have arrow shaped leaves on long stems. The underground rhizomes are hard to dig up.

They have been used medicinally to produce laxatives and gall bladder remedies.

The best way to eliminate bindweed in your garden is to:

  • Gently pull a long piece that is still attached to the rhizome and fold it into a plastic bag.
  • Spray it inside the bag so that the herbicide does not get on neighboring plants.
  • Then tie the bag shut and leave it for at least a week so that the herbicide can kill the rhizome.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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