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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 153. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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1. Convolvulus arvensis L. (field bindweed, small bindweed)

C. arvensis f. cordifolius Lasch

Pl. 363 e; Map 1582

Plants perennial herbs, scrambling or twining, with deep-set, somewhat fleshy rhizomes and root systems. Stems 10–100(–200) cm long, sometimes somewhat angular, glabrous or sparsely and minutely hairy. Leaves mostly relatively short-petiolate. Leaf blades 1–5(–10) cm long, narrowly to broadly ovate, oblong-ovate, or triangular, sometimes with a pair of triangular lobes at the base (then appearing sagittate or hastate), rounded to sharply pointed at the tip, truncate to deeply cordate at the base, the margins otherwise entire or with few shallow teeth on the basal lobes, the surfaces glabrous or less commonly minutely hairy. Inflorescences axillary, the flowers solitary or in loose clusters of 2 or 3, usually long-stalked. Bracts 2, 2–8 mm long, usually distant from the flower, scalelike, much shorter than and not hiding the calyx, not overlapping, linear to elliptic or obovate, persistent or shed before fruiting. Calyx of free sepals, 3–5 mm long, similar in size and shape or the outer 3 slightly shorter and narrower than the inner 2, elliptic to oblong, obovate, or nearly circular, herbaceous, the margins usually hairy, the surfaces glabrous or finely hairy. Corollas 1.2–2.5 cm long, very shallowly 5-lobed, broadly funnelform to nearly bell-shaped, white, often pinkish-tinged, especially with age, rarely all pink. Stamens lacking subtending scales, not exserted. Ovary 2-locular, with 4 ovules. Style 1, the stigmas 2, linear in outline, somewhat flattened. Fruits 5–7 mm long, globose to ovoid, 2-locular, dehiscing longitudinally, the wall separating into 4 segments. Seeds 1–4, 3–4 mm long, oblong-ovate to ovate in outline, somewhat longitudinally angled on the inner face, the surface with small, dense tubercles, dark brown to more commonly black, glabrous. 2n=48, 50. May–September.

Common nearly throughout the state (native probably of Europe, possibly also Asia and Africa, but now naturalized worldwide). Banks of streams and rivers, disturbed portions of upland prairies, and disturbed margins of upland forests and glades; also crop fields, fallow fields, pastures, gardens, fencerows, roadsides, railroads, and open, disturbed areas.

Field bindweed is considered to be among the world’s worst agricultural weeds. Because of the extensive deep root system of the plants, they are extremely difficult to eradicate. The spreading, branched rootstocks may reach depths of 4 m or more. Austin (2000) discussed the history of C. arvensis in the United States, dating its original introduction to before 1739. According to his review of early literature, it was sold commercially as a medicinal herb and garden ornamental in the eastern states by the early nineteenth century and began to spread outside cultivation in New England soon thereafter. By 1850, the species had reached California, and by the 1880s, it was discussed as a severe weed in the agricultural literature. Today it is regulated by law as a noxious weed in most states, including Missouri. However, such legislation has not resulted in the control of the plants or diminished their spread.

Austin (2000) discussed the long history of medicinal use of C. arvensis, both in Europe and North America, mainly for its laxative properties. Steyermark (1963) noted that the roots apparently are poisonous to some livestock.



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