Ontario Weeds: Wild buckwheat

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Leaves
  7. Flowers and Fruit
  8. Habitat
  9. Similar Species
  10. Related Links

Name: Wild buckwheat, Polvgonum convolvulus L.,

Other Names: renouée liseron, Black bindweed, Climbing bindweed, Corn bindweed, faux liseron, sarrasin sauvage

Family: Buckwheat or Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Wild buckwheat.

Wild buckwheat. A. Base of plant. B. Portion of stem twining around another stalk. C. Section of stem with leafstalk, ocrea and 2 flowers.

Wild buckwheat. A. Base of plant. B. Portion of stem twining around another stalk. C. Section of stem with leafstalk, ocrea and 2 flowers.


Stems & Roots: Stems 5 cm (2 in.) to more than 2 m (6 ½ ft) long, slender, prostrate or twining vine-like over other plants or any available support, with a short ocrea (membranous sheath) at each node (joint)

Leaves: Leaves alternate (1 per node), arrowhead-shaped with pointed basal lobes and elongated slender tips.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers small, 5 mm (1/5 in.) across, with 5 greenish to whitish sepals (no petals), in small clusters at tips of short branches or from axils of leaves; "seeds" dull black, 3 mm (1/8 in.) long, pointed at both ends but sharply triangular in cross-section and often partly or wholly enclosed by the dry sepals even after shattering from the plant. Flowers from July to August.

Habitat: Wild buckwheat is a common weed in cultivated fields and gardens throughout all of Ontario and its "seeds" frequently contaminate small grains.

Similar Species: It is distinguished from all other weedy members of the Smartweed Family by its twining stems, its arrowhead-shaped leaves, and its seedling usually having longer cotyledons (7-33mm, ¼-1¼in. long). It is distinguished from Field bindweed by its annual root system with thin, downward-tapering taproot, the presence of an ocrea around the stem at each node (joint), its very small, short-stalked greenish flowers, borne in the axils of leaves or in clusters along short branches, and its dark, sharply triangular seeds.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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