|Scientific name:||Convolvulus arvensis L.|
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Catchment management authority boundaries
Regionally prohibited in the East Gippsland Catchment
Regionally controlled in the Wimmera, North East, West Gippsland, Port Phillip & Westernport Catchments
Restricted in the Mallee, Glenelg Hopkins, North Central, Corangamite and Goulburn Broken Catchments
Herbaceous plant - Forb (flowering herbaceous plant - not a grass)
Bindweed is a creeping (or climbing/twining), prostrate perennial herb.
Stems are prostrate or climbing and grow to 2 m long. They are longitudinally ribbed with short hairs and have many branches. They arise from buds on an extensive complex root system and climb by twining around other plants or itself. Stems often end with a spiral twist towards the tip.
Leaves alternate along branches and are 2-5 cm long. The leaves are arrowhead-shaped with lobes at right angles to, or bending backwards from, the mid-rib. They are usually blunt, have short stalks and are smooth or only sparsely hairy, with entire margins.Leaves vary in size and shape depending on environmental factors such as light intensity, soil moisture and frequency of defoliation or disturbance.
Flower petals range from white to pink and are sometimes streaked with darker pink.
Petals are funnel-shaped to 3 cm diameter and of similar length, scented and occur singly or up to 4 on a single leaf axil.
The plant may not flower in the first year.Flower stems have two opposite bracts about 1-2.5 cm below the flower. Flowers close in dark or dull conditions. Individual flowers last only one day.
Fruit are a smooth, globular or ovoid and somewhat pointed capsule, containing between one and four seeds.
Seeds may vary in colour from grey to dark brown and are a similar size to grains of wheat.
Growth and lifecycle
Method of reproduction and disperal
Bindweed can reproduce from seed and roots.
Seeds pass through animals, including birds and is spread through the bird droppings or animal manure.
Migratory birds have been known to assist Bindweed in long distance dispersal.
Infestations increase in size as a result of the plant’s prolific root development, and by root-segments establishing on clean areas when cut and dragged during cultivation.
Bindweed seeds may contaminate fodder, machinery and grain for sowing, in particular wheat, because of the similarity in size.
Rate of growth and spread
Bindweed's prolific and rapid root development means infestations increase quickly over broad areas.
Seedbank propagule persistence
Up to 500 seeds are produced per plant with 80 per cent of the seeds capable of remaining dormant in the soil for at least 20 years.
Bindweed is not tolerant of shade and prefers humid and subhumid temperate regions and flourishes in a wide range of environments.
It is found on arable land, roadsides, railway lines and neglected areas, in both urban and rural surroundings.
It grows well in areas with moderate rainfall or irrigation, but cannot survive on waterlogged soils.
In Victoria, it occurs mainly in town areas, vineyards, orchards, grain and horticultural crops.
The icons on the calendar below represent the times of year for flowering, seeding, germination, the dormancy period of Bindweed and also the optimum time for treatment.
Impact on ecosystems and waterways
Bindweed grows predominantly in pasture and cultivated areas. It is likely to dominate the ground flora in low quality, open grassland and affects 20-60 per cent of the flora at that stratum.
Agricultural and economic impacts
Bindweed is regarded as one of the most important weeds worldwide. It is considered a significant weed of 32 crops across 44 countries.Bindweed occurs predominantly in agricultural situations where it eliminates more valuable pasture species and smothers cereal crops. The seeds of Bindweed contaminate grain for sowing, particularly wheat.
The weed can seriously affect yields and it requires a concerted control program over several years to eradicate it.
The long stems of Bindweed twine through the maturing crop, making harvesting difficult or impossible, resulting in an increase in harvest costs.
The weed also acts as an alternative host for a number of viruses in addition to hosting several arthropods and nematodes of agricultural importance.
The plant is eaten by stock and may provide some food source to native herbivores. However, it is regarded as having little nutritional value.
It may be toxic and can cause vomiting. It is suspected of causing photosensitisation in susceptible animals and of poisoning pigs after its roots are eaten.
Social value and health impacts
Bindweed is a strong competitor and can dominate in open areas. However, its prostrate form does not seriously affect recreational activities.
The plant has a vigorous root system that allows shoots to push through asphalt paths and road surfaces.
Prescribed measures for the control of noxious weeds
- Application of a registered herbicide
- Physical removal
Other management techniques
Changes in land use practices and spread prevention may also support bindweed management after implementing the prescribed measures above.
Holm, L, Plucknett, D, Pancho, J and Herberger, J. 1977, The World’s Worst Weeds, University Press of Hawaii, pp. 98–104.
Parsons, WT & Cuthbertson, EG. 1992, Noxious Weeds of Australia, Inkata Press, Melbourne, Sydney.
Parsons, WT and Cuthbertson, EG. 2001, Noxious weeds of Australia, 2nd edn, Inkata Press, Melbourne, Sydney.
Department of Primary Industries, Regionally Prohibited Weed Information Sheet - Bindweed, 2010.