Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)

Photo: (c) Harry Rose

Family: Convolvulaceae

Growth Habit: Bindweed grows long tangling stems, which can cover 2m in diameter. The leaves are alternate and are triangular in shape. Main growth is during spring to summer.

Type of Plant: Bindweed is a perennial, creeping vine.

Photo: (c) Meneerke Bloem

Flowers:  Approximately 1.9-2.5 cm across and are subtended by small bracts. Flowers are usually solitary; bracts 3mm long; sepals elliptic-circular or oblong with petals that are white or pink or white-tinged pink, 2cm in length.

Fruit/Seed: Light brown, rounded and 30mm wide. Each fruit contains 2 seeds.

Dispersal: Bindweed reproduces by seed, which germinate in autumn and winter. Soil movement and water mainly disperse seed.

Distribution: Bindweed is found in gardens, run down pastures, many crops, vineyards and waste places.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania. This species is primarily a weed of agricultural areas (i.e. crops and cultivation) and gardens. However, it is also regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

Similar Species:

  • Convolvulus angustissimus (= C. erubescens; Australian Bindweed, Native) Also common species in dry areas. C. arvensis is a twining plant with twisting stems, whereas C. angustissimus  is a prostrate plant without twisting stems and lobed or toothed leaves. They can be confused with Calystegia species, but almost always have smaller flowers.
  • Calystegia silvatica (introduced) Largest Species of Bindweed. Twining plant with showy white trumpet-shaped flowers up to 9 centimeters in diameter. Has been found in the Tamar area, along walking trails and margins of the kanamaluka/Tamar Estuary.
  • Calystegia sepium (Great Bindweed) a native species listed as Rare in Tasmania under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. The showy flowers are funnel-shaped,between 4-6 cm long and white (sometimes tinged with pink).
  • Calystegia soldanella a native species listed as Rare in Tasmania under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. Prostrate coastal plant with slightly smaller flowers (although still usually larger than those of the Convolvulus species). The flowers are showy, funnel-shaped and white with pale pink or purple and a yellow centre. They are between 3-5 cm long. Recorded from coastal areas in north-east of the State.
  • Calystegia marginata (Forest Bindweed) a native species listed as Endangered in Tasmania under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 – only known locally on Cape Barren Island.

Weed Impact:

  • Bindweed can be a very competitive plant in many crops and vineyards, where it reduces production and interferes with harvesting.
  • Can smother and topple native plants.
  • Due to its climbing ability, it is able to infest various levels of a plant community (from ground level to the tops of trees).
  • Can be an issue in riparian zones where it chokes out native species of forbs, grasses and rushes.

Control Methods:

  • Care must be taken that you are not removing native, and in particular, threatened species similar to Field Bindweed.
  • Grubbing (all year). Isolated plants may be manually removed with a fork or similar tool.
  • Herbicide (summer, spring and autumn). Herbicides registered in Tasmania include MCPA, triclopyr and glyphosate. If the bindweed is in a crop, consult the D.P.I.W.E. for more specific information.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.

This info available as a PDF (560 Kb) – click here.