Vine Weeds

Hedge bindweed        Wild buckwheat        Sharppoint fluvellin

Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) was discussed in last week's article, see it for a complete description and control strategies.  This article will compare several species that look similar to field bindweed.  There are other vine weeds in Oregon (and other parts of the country), however, these are the species I find most prevalent in and around nurseries.  

One additional note, many call the weeds listed below 'wild morningglories'.  While the bindweeds are in the morningglory family, my education (from the east coast)  taught me that morningglories are those plants in the genus Ipomoea.  That's not to say that it's incorrect to call these plants morningglories.  I guess we should chalk this up to one more reason common names are confusing, especially when people interact from different regions of the country.

Field bindweed
(Convolvulus arvensis)

Hedge bindweed 

(Calystegia sepium)
Wild buckwheat 

(Polygonum convolvulus)
field bindweed hedge bindweed wild buckwheat
Foliage is arrow shaped.  Stems and leaves are slightly pubescent, though hardly noticeable.
Foliage is larger than field bindweed, glabrous (no hairs), and with a more pronounced arrow shape.
Foliage is very similar to hedge bindweed.  Foliage is glabrous and pronouncedly arrow shaped.
field bindweed hedge bindweed wild buckwheat
Flowers are trumpet shaped, pink to white, and are produced indeterminately throughout the year.
Flowers are white, trumpet shaped, and larger than those of field bindweed.
Flowers are small, green, without petals, and hardly noticeable.
field bindweed hedge bindweed
Notice the two small leaf bracts that occur about 1 inch below the flower, compare this to hedge bindweed.
Leaf bracts are large and cover the flower's sepals.  The two large leaf-like structures on the left and right are leaf bracts.  Peel them back to reveal smaller overlapping sepals.
Not applicable.  

Hedge bindweedhedge bindweed consuming a young maple tree

Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) is in the family Convolvulaceae (Morningglory family).  It looks similar to field bindweed, however, just about every structure (leaves, flowers, etc.) is bigger on hedge bindweed.  Hedge bindweed has 2 large bracts that almost completely cover the calyx, unlike field bindweed with 2 tiny bracts well below the flower.  

Hedge bindweed is a perennial, but its root system is not as expansive as that of field bindweed.  Hedge bindweed reportedly does not take cultivation, which is probably why I rarely see it in maintained nursery fields.  This plant is mostly seen growing along drainage ditches, fencerows, and other poorly maintained areas.

field and hedge bindweed flowers  In the image to the left, compare the size of a field bindweed flower on the left to hedge bindweed on the right.  In the image to the right, notice the destructive effect hedge bindweed has on small plants.

Wild buckwheat
wild buckwheat
Wild buckwheat (Polygonum convolvulus) is in the family Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family).  It does not have the showy trumpet-like flowers found on field and hedge bindweed.  Its flowers are small and green, almost inconspicuous. 

More notable on this weed is its ocrea.  The ocrea is a membranous sheath that surrounds the stem at each node (see image to the right).  You can see this structure on virtually every plant in the Buckwheat family.  When identifying vines, the absence of flowers is the first sign that it might be wild buckwheat, and the presence of this ocrea is final proof.

Wild buckwheat is an annual that spreads by seed.  Sanitation and proper use of preemergence herbicides provide effective control.  This weed is common in drainage ditches and fencerows, but rarely a problem in maintained nurseries.  I've seen this weed germinate as early as late March.  If the weed is allowed to grow and climb nursery stock, removal and subsequent control may be difficult.  Because it's an annual, preventative control with sanitation and preemergence herbicides is the best strategy.

just one more...

Sharppoint fluvellin (Kickxia elatine) is an annual weed common to drainage ditches, fencerows, and unmaintained nursery rows.  Sharppoint fluvellin is the family Scrophulariaceae (figwort family).   It looks similar to field bindweed (somewhat), but is not a vine and does not climb like the weeds mentioned above.  It's not as common (as far as I can see) as the other weeds mentioned.  Its foliage is similar to field bindweed, however stems and leaves are very hairy, a feature immediately obvious.  Flowers are very small, 2-lipped, with one lip being purple and the other white to pale yellow.  Flowers have a noticeable spur protruding from the back of the flower.

sharppoint fluvelin
sharppoint fluvelin
sharppoint fluvelin
Flowers are yellow and purple.
Foliage is arrow shaped, similar to field bindweed.  However, leaves and stems are far more hairy.
Habit is prostrate, but does not climb like the vines mentioned above.

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