Convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed) is a species of bindweed in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), native to Europe and Asia. It is a climbing or creeping herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.5–2 m high. There are two varieties:
- Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis. Leaves broader.
- Convolvulus arvensis var. linearifolius. Leaves narrower.
Other common names, mostly obsolete, include lesser bindweed, European bindweed, withy wind (in basket willow crops), perennial morning glory, smallflowered morning glory, creeping jenny, and possession vine.
The leaves are spirally arranged, linear to arrowhead-shaped, 2–5 cm long and alternate, with a 1–3 cm petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 1–2.5 cm diameter, white or pale pink, with five slightly darker pink radial stripes. Flowering occurs in the mid-summer, when white to pale pink, funnel-shaped flowers develop. Flowers are approximately 0.75–1 in. (1.9–2.5 cm) across and are subtended by small bracts. Fruit are light brown, rounded and 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide. Each fruit contains 2 seeds that are eaten by birds and can remain viable in the soil for decades. The stems climb by twisting around other plant stems in a counterclockwise direction.
Although it produces attractive flowers, it is often unwelcome in gardens as a nuisance weed due to its rapid growth and choking of cultivated plants. It was most likely introduced into North America as a contaminant in crop seed as early as 1739, as an invasive species. Plants typically inhabit roadsides, grasslands and also along streams. Its dense mats invade agricultural fields and reduce crop yields; it is estimated that crop losses due to this plant in the United States exceeded US$377 million in the year 1998 alone.
In one of the tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Our Lady's Little Glass, this flower is used by Our Lady to drink wine with when she helps free a wagoner's cart. The story goes on to say that "the little flower is still always called Our Lady's Little Glass."
Field bindweed intertwines and topples native species. It competes with other species for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. It poses threats to restoration efforts and riparian corridors by choking out grasses and forbs. It can decrease habitat biodiversity. It is one of the most serious weeds of agricultural fields in temperate regions of the world.
Control and management
Field bindweed is difficult to eradicate because the seeds remain viable in soil for up to 50 years. One plant can produce up to 500 seeds. The deep, extensive root system stores carbohydrates and proteins and allows it to sprout repeatedly from fragments and rhizomes following removal of above ground growth.
- Manual – Discing, tilling or hand pulling
- Mulching is an important control method which slows the growth of new shoots, an blanches old shoot formations and makes them easier to pull and more susceptible to insect or fungal attack. Mulching also controls the germination of seeds.
- Competitive planting: Utilize pumpkins, melons, squash and other plants with a thorny vine to keep it down and shade it out. They will not strangle out these plants as with others. Sunflowers release a allelopathic chemical from their roots which slows the growth of vines.
- Other approaches: Research suggests that shading will help control this species; mulching using paper, straw, wood chips, or black plastic can be effective in certain areas
- Natural enemies: citation needed] Colorado State University has spearheaded research into mite development, which offers a chemical free, low cost method of control. [
- Parnell, J. and Curtis, T. 2012. Webb's An Irish Flora. Cork University Press. ISBN 978-185918-4783
- Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968 Excursion Flora of the British Isles Second Edition Cambridge University Press.ISBN 0-521-04656-4
- Coombs, E. M., et al., Eds. (2004). Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the United States. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 151.
- Vet Hum Toxicol. 1995 Oct;37(5):452-4. Toxicity of field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) to mice. Schultheiss PC1, Knight AP, Traub-Dargatz JL, Todd FG, Stermitz FR.
- Blanchan, Neltje (2002). Wild Flowers: An Aid to Knowledge of Our Wild Flowers and Their Insect Visitors. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.
- Flora Europaea: Convolvulus arvensis
- Flora of China: Convolvulus arvensis
- Invasive.org: Convolvulus arvensis
- PLANTS Profile: Convolvulus arvensis (field blindweed) | USDA PLANTS
- Invasive Plants of Asia Origin Established in the US and their Natural Enemies p. 58–59
- WSSA-1,000 Weeds of North America: An Identification Guide
- Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules in the US
Media related to Convolvulus arvensis at Wikimedia Commons