Bilderdykia convolvulus (L.) Dumort.
Fagopyrum carinatum Moench
Fagopyrum convolvulus (L.) Gross
Fagopyrum volubile Gilib.
Helxine convolvulus (L.) Raf.
Polygonum convolvulaceum Lam.
Polygonum convolvuliforme St.-Lag.
Polygonum convolvulus L.
Polygonum infestum Salisb.
Polygonum striatum Dulac
Reynoutria convolvulus (L.) Shinners
Tiniaria convolvulus (L.) Webb & Moq.
Common Name: Black Bindweed
Fallopia convolvulus is an annual, climbing plant with a slender stem that branches freely at the base. The stems scramble over the ground, twining into the surrounding vegetation for support. Stems can be up to 250cm long[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Originally native to tenperate Eurasia and north Africa, the plant has spread as a weed of cultivated crops through most of the temperate zone and into parts of the tropics, especially at higher elevations and in cooler valleys. The plant can occur as a weed in most crops, though it is most troublesome in cereals. It may also cause yield losses in potatoes, sugarbeet and vegetables, as well as in vineyards and orchards. It is a weed of 25 crops in 41 countries and in 20 crops of these countries it is ranked as a serious weed.[
Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people.
Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Most commonly found on arable land, but it also grows in gardens, on waste ground, in thickets, on roadsides, along fences, and occasionally in pastures and on river banks[
Succeeds in a wide range of soil types, but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[
]. The plant is often more abundant on clay soils[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
This species is closely related to Fallopia dumetorum (L.) Holub and Fallopia dentatoalata (F. Schmidt) Holub[
Seed - ground into a powder and used as a gruel or mixed with cereals[
]. The seed coat should be removed before use, this has caused mechanical injury to the digestive systems of animals who have eaten the seed[
]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize.
Although comparatively low in protein, oil and fibre content, the seeds are a promising nutritious food because their amino acid composition is similar to that of cultivated buckwheat. Their high lysine content make them a reasonable supplement to cereals[
Seed - the plant needs litle encouragement, though can be sown in spring in situ. Seed in the soil can retain viability for more than 20 years[