Field Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis
Other names: Bearbind, bellbine, corn lily, cornbind, creeping Jenny, devil's guts, European bindweed, green-vine, hedge-bells, lap-love, lesser bindweed, liseron, possession vine, sheep-bine, small-flowered morning glory, wild morning-glory, withwind.
Origin and distribution
Field bindweed is a native of Europe and Asia that has spread throughout the world. It is currently distributed throughout the United States except for a few southern locations. Field bindweed commonly occurs in two-thirds of the counties in Ohio. It is a weed of cultivated areas including fields, pastures, lawns, and gardens as well as other disturbed sites such as roadsides, fence rows, parking lots, and waste areas. It prefers rich, fertile soils but can also persist on poor, gravelly soils.
Field bindweed is a twining perennial vine. Characteristics distinguishing it from other vines include arrowhead-shaped leaves, thin stems, pinkish petals fused into funnel-shaped flowers, the presence of small bracts attached to flower stalks about an inch below the base of the flower, a perennial taproot, and invasive rhizomes (horizontal underground stems). The plant reproduces by seeds and regenerates new plants from adventitious buds on roots and rhizomes.
Roots are whitish, cord-like, fleshy, and develop into an extensive system comprised of taproots, vertical roots, horizontal roots, and rhizomes (horizontal underground stems). Taproots extend 9 feet or more below the soil surface. Lateral roots are shallow and comprise most of the root mass. Rhizomes grow in all directions occupying an area that may be 18 feet or more in diameter.
Seedlings and shoots
Young plants have dull red stems and light green leaves. Leaf stalks (petioles) are flattened, kidney-shaped in cross-sections, and have a groove on the upper side.
Stems are viney, slender, hairy or hairless, 9 feet or longer, and either trailing along the ground or climbing over objects.
Leaves follow an alternate pattern (1 leaf per node), 1 to 2 inches long, 1-inch-wide, arrowhead-shaped, and bluish-green. At the base of each leaf are 2 lobes, one on either side of the petiole that may be either rounded or pointed outward. The outline of a typical leaf narrows gradually upward such that its sides are nearly parallel. Leaf tips are generally rounded. Leaves attach to the stems by way of long petioles.
Flowers are funnel-shaped, white to pinkish, and are less than 1 inch across. Flowers form either alone or in groups of 2 to 4 at the end of long stalks arising from the stem at the leaf axils. Flowers are attached to stalks about 1 inch long. Each flower has minute, leaf-like bracts.
Fruits and seeds
Fruits are egg-shaped capsules containing 2 to 4 seeds. The blackish-brown seeds are 3-angled with 1 rounded side and 2 flat sides. Their shape is similar to that of a quartered orange.
Control of field bindweed isn't easy, and it can't be accomplished with a single treatment of in a single season.
Effective control requires prevention of seed production, reduction of stored carbohydrates by deep tillage of the root system, competition for light from other plants, and constant vigilance in removing top growth.
Application of herbicides, which reduce bindweed growth and kill germinating seedlings, can also be part of an integrated pest management program.