Bindweed identification


The name “bindweed” is often used as a catch-all term that encompasses several different weedy plant species. This can include the annual morningglories (Ipomoea spp.) and the perennial field (Convolvulus arvensis) and hedge (Calystegia sepium) bindweeds. It also may include a species that is not even a bindweed at all. i.e. wild buckwheat (Fallopia convolvulus), which is occasionally referred to as black bindweed. The specific bindweed species present at your site may impact the type and timing of weed management strategies you will want to employ because of differential sensitivity to herbicides or regrowth potential following physical control measures. Below is a guide to help you distinguish between three commonly encountered “bindweeds” present in New York.

Bindweed ID characteristics summary

Identifying traits of three bindweed species

Common name:

Field bindweed

Hedge bindweed

Wild buckwheat
(Black bindweed)

Latin name:

Convolvulus arvensis

Calystegia sepium

Fallopia convolvulus

Plant family:

Morningglory family

Morningglory family

Knotweed family

Life cycle:





Root fragments and seed

Root fragments and seed



Leaves are alternate and arrow-shaped and rounded at the apex. The leaf base is relatively flat with lobes that point away from the stem. Field bindweed leaves are approximately 1 to 2.5 inches in length. Leaves can be hairless to hairy.

Leaves are alternate and triangular with sharply pointed apices. The leaf base is deeply lobed, especially compared to field bindweed. Leaves, which are smooth, can be up to 5 inches in length.

Leaves are alternate, almost heart-shaped and pointed at the apex. The leaf base has deep and rounded to pointed lobes. At the base of each leaf, a cylindrical, membranous sheath (ocrea) surrounds the stem. Leaves are can be up to 3.5 inches long.


Deep (reaching tens of feet into the soil profile) vertical roots; extensive lateral roots in the top 1 to 2 feet of soil. Root pieces as small as 1inch in size can regenerate.

Extensive, but shallow, rhizomatous root system. Root fragments as small as 1 inch in size are capable of regrowth.

Fibrous root system. Regeneration does not occur from roots.


White to pink, solitary trumpet-shaped flowers that emerge from leaf axils. Usually 1 to 2 inches in size. Small leafy, bracts are located approximately 1 inch below the base of each flower.


White, trumpet shaped flowers that are mostly greater than 2 inches in length. Bracts are large, leafy and cover the base of the flower.

Individual flowers are small and inconspicuous (less than 0.5 inches in length). There are no petals, only sepals that are white to pink to green in color. Flowers are held in small clusters in leaf axils or at the end of stems.


Seed are brown to black, wedge-shaped, and persistent in the soil (decades).

Seed are brown to black, egg-shaped and persistent in the soil (decades).

Seed are 3-angled and short-lived.

Leaf comparison

Left image above: Hedge bindweed leaf (left) vs. field bindweed leaf (right). Right image above: Field bindweed leaf (left) vs. wild buckwheat leaf (right).

  • Hedge bindweed leaves have pointed tips and deep-lobed bases.
  • Field bindweed has a rounded tip and flattened base.
  • Wild buckwheat has heart-shaped leaves with a pointed tips.

Flower comparison

Images above, left to right:

  • Field bindweed flowers are trumpet-shaped, white/pink with bracts below.
  • Hedge bindweed flowers are trumpet-shaped, white, with bracts at base.
  • Wild buckwheat flowers lack petals, are white/pink/green and are held in racemes.

Root comparison

Images above: Field bindweed (left) vs. hedge bindweed (right) root systems. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Andrew Senesac)

  • Field bindweed possesses taproots that can reach tens of feet deep and an extensive lateral root system that occupies the top 1 to 2 feet of soil. Root pieces 1 inch in length can resprout following fragmentation. 
  • Hedge bindweed has an extensive, but shallow, rhizomatous root system. Much like field bindweed, it can spread via the regeneration of fragmented rhizomes. Like field bindweed, pieces 1 inch in size can regrow