Black Bindweed / Wild Buckwheat

Polygonum convolvulus

black bindweed, Polygonum convolvulus, photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed in a farm plot near Eldoret, Kenya, Africa. December 2012.

HERBACEOUS VINE: Herbaceous plant twining up through and over other plants or onto fences. Length mostly less than 2 m.

FLOWERS: The flowers are small, set into tight clusters, and greenish white, then quickly set fruit with three papery bracts that can look like flowers. True bindweeds (Convolvulus) mostly have conspicuous flowers.

LEAVES: Leaves triangular to heart shape with a long tip. There is a sheath around the stem where the petiole attaches, a feature that true bindweeds (Convolvulus) never have.

RANGE: This plant is native to many parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, but has been distributed world wide. It is frequent in farms, gardens and disturbed soils.

FRUIT: Small seeds subtended by papery brachts are edible, but these days are too small and few to be harvested for food, unlike in times past. Now the plant is normally seen as a weed.


Polygonaceae -- Buckwheat Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 5 June 2013