Convolvulus arvensis (bindweed)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Convolvulus arvensis L.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Calystegia arvensis L.
- Convolvulus arvensis f. arvensis
- Convolvulus arvensis var. angustatus Ledeb.
- Convolvulus arvensis var. crassifolius Choisy
- Convolvulus arvensis var. hastulatus Meisn.
- Convolvulus arvensis var. linearifolius Choisy
- Convolvulus arvensis var. sagittatus Ledeb.
- Convolvulus arvensis var. sagittifolius Turcz.
- Convolvulus arvensis var. villosus Choisy
- Convolvulus chinensis Ker Gawl.
- Convolvulus minor Gilib.
International Common Names
- English: chardvel; creeping jenny; European bindweed; field bindweed; lesser bindweed; morning glory; small bindweed; small-flowered morning glory; white convolvulus
- Spanish: campanilla; correguela
- French: liseron des champs; petit lizet
- Portuguese: campainha; corda-de-viola; corriola
Local Common Names
- Germany: Ackerwinde
- India: bhoomi chakra poondu; hirankhuri; pohi
- Iran: pichak
- Iraq: illake
- Italy: vilucchio dei campi
- Japan: seiyo hirugao
- Mexico: correlunela
- Myanmar: kauk-yo-nive
- Netherlands: akkerwinde
- Sweden: akervinda
- Thailand: phak-bung-ruam
- CONAR (Convolvulus arvensis)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
C. arvensis, commonly known as bindweed, is a climbing herbaceous perennial native to Eurasia. This species is present in most parts of the world where it has been accidentally introduced as a contaminant of both agricultural and horticultural seed. C. arvensis produces a long lived root system and up to 500 seeds per plant. This species can grow very rapidly where it competes with native vegetation and agricultural and horticultural crops for nutrients, moisture, light and space. As a result, neighbouring plants may become smothered leading to a decrease in biodiversity and a reduction in crop yield. Control of this species is difficult due to the longevity of seeds in the soil bank (up to 20 years) and the ability of small fragments of rhizome to produce new shoots.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Solanales
- Family: Convolvulaceae
- Genus: Convolvulus
- Species: Convolvulus arvensis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The genus Convolvulus contains around 250 species. According to The Plant List (2013) there are nine synonyms for C. arvensis and no varieties. However, Discover Life (2016) state that there is a large number of varieties, for example, more than sixty have been identified in Europe. The name “convovulus” means to entwine, and “arvensis” means of fields (National Parks Service, 2016).
DescriptionTop of page
C. arvensis is a herbaceous perennial growing from a very deep root system. Shoots develop from adventitious buds on the deep root system at almost any depth down to 1 m. Above ground, the stems trail or climb by twining. Stems slender, to 1.5 m long, twining anticlockwise, glabrous or finely pubescent. Leaves alternate, petiolate, variable in shape, lanceolate or ovate to narrow-oblong, 1.2-5.0 cm long, acute at the apex, entire but often hastate-sagittate at the base, glabrous or pubescent with scattered crisped hairs. Flowers axillary, solitary or in cymes 2-3 on peduncles subequal to the subtending leaf; bracteoles linear, 2-4 mm long. Sepals free, obtuse, 2.5-4.5 mm long. Corolla funnel-shaped, pentamerous with 5 radial pubescent bands but not divided into distinct lobes, 10-25 mm long, 10-25 mm diameter, white or pink. Stamens 5, inserted on corolla tube. Style single with two oblong stigmas. Ovary two-celled. Fruit a capsule, globular to ovoid with a persistent style base, breaking open irregularly. Seeds usually 4, compressed-globose, 3-5 mm diameter; testa granular, dark-brown or black.
DistributionTop of page
C. arvensis is native to Eurasia and is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions throughout the world. C. arvensis may be found between 60°N and 45°S (Discover Life, 2016). It should be noted that its non-appearance in the accompanying "Distribution Table" is not a firm indication of its absence in a country. Rather, it is an indication that the literature that has been surveyed for this Compendium has not revealed a record of its presence.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
There are very few reports detailing the introduction of C. arvensis outside of its native range. However, it has been suggested that it was most likely introduced into the USA as a contaminant of seeds (both agricultural and horticultural) (National Park Service, 2016).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
C. arvensis is generally present all over the world, but it is not a major weed in most of these areas (Holm et al., 1977). C. arvensis produced a large number of seed which can remain viable for up to 20 years. These seeds are dispersed locally by water but they may also accidentally be introduced with the movement of seedstocks in commerce, and by clinging to mud on farm vehicles. As such, it is likely that the distribution of this species is likely to increase.
HabitatTop of page
C. arvensis occupies disturbed and cleared ground. It is a major weed of field crops, (e.g. in wheat, barley, maize, legumes and sugar beet), of pastures and of horticulture (in vegetables, vineyards, and tree crops).
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Annual crops such as cereals and grain legumes are particularly susceptible, and it is also widely reported as a troublesome weed in vineyards. Holm et al. (1977) also list C. arvensis as a weed of sugarbeet, cotton, tobacco, tea, potato, orchards, pineapples, vegetables, flax and lucerne.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Ananas comosus (pineapple)||Bromeliaceae||Main|
|Beta vulgaris var. saccharifera (sugarbeet)||Chenopodiaceae||Main|
|Camellia sinensis (tea)||Theaceae||Main|
|Eragrostis tef (teff)||Poaceae||Other|
|Fabaceae (leguminous plants)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Helianthus annuus (sunflower)||Asteraceae||Main|
|Hordeum vulgare (barley)||Poaceae||Main|
|Linum usitatissimum (flax)||Main|
|Medicago sativa (lucerne)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Triticum aestivum (wheat)||Poaceae||Main|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
C. arvensis has been reported as having a chromosome number of 2n=24, 48, 50, 78 (IPCN Chromosome Reports, 2015).
C. arvensis reproduces by producing seeds which may remain dormant in the soil for longer periods of time (20 years or more) (Holm et al., 1977; Americanos, 1994). It has been suggested that one plant may produce up to 500 seeds (Texas Invasives, 2016). Plants can also spread vegetatively from underground rhizome. It has been reported that a single plant may spread outward more than three meters in one growing season (National Parks Service, 2016). It is possible for root fragments as small as 5 cm to regenerate and produce new shoots (Texas Invasives, 2016).
Physiology and Phenology
Seeds germinate throughout the year if moisture is adequate but there are peaks of germination in spring, early summer and autumn. Plants grow rapidly as the weather becomes warmer, developing 15-20 leaves in the first month and an extensive root system (to a depth of 2 m) within about 7 months, which enables plants to persist despite cultivation and moisture stress. Plants may not flower in the first year but develop numerous lateral roots. Aerial growth dies off in autumn with the onset of cold weather and new growth from roots and crowns occurs in spring, with plants flowering from late spring through summer and sometimes into autumn. Seed set is variable and favoured by dry, sunny conditions; in cool weather or on waterlogged soil flowering is restricted and fruit often contain no viable seed (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). C. arvensis has 'hard' seeds which, when fresh, require scarification and later require alternating temperatures. A large proportion of seeds will remain dormant in the soil seed bank (Texas Invasives, 2016).
C. arvensis produces a deep perennial root system with the ability to compete vigorously with crops for moisture and nutrients.
C. arvensis has been reported to grow best in areas with moderate to good rainfall, with well drained soils, however, it can also tolerate periods of drought (Texas Invasives, 2016).
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Aceria malherbae||Herbivore||Leaves/Stems||to species||USA and Canada|
|Chelymorpha cassidea||Herbivore||Leaves||not specific||specific to Convolvulaceae|
|Chiridea gutata||Herbivore||Leaves||not specific||specific to Convolvulaceae|
|Galeruca rufa||Herbivore||Leaves||to species||Specific to C arvensis and Calystegia sepium|
|Hypocassida subferruginea||Herbivore||Leaves||to genus||Specific to Convolvulus spp. and Calystegia spp.|
|Longitarsus pellucidus||Herbivore||Leaves/Roots||to genus|
|Melanagromyza albocilia||Herbivore||Roots/Stems||to species||Potentially specific|
|Melanagromyza convollvuli||Herbivore||Stems||not specific|
|Phoma sepium f.sp. arvensi||Pathogen|
|Spermophagus sericeus||Herbivore||Inflorescence/Seeds||to species||Specific to Convolvulus spp. And Calystegia spp.|
|Tyta luctuosa||Herbivore||Leaves||to species|
|Xanthomonas campestris pv. convolvuli||Pathogen|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
A considerable range of species are hosted by C. arvensis, many of them highly polyphagous (Mohyuddin, 1969a; Mohyuddin, 1969b; Baloch, 1974). This range of natural enemies must have some effect on control of the weed species within the original range of C. arvensis but their effect in controlling the competitiveness of the species does not appear to be well documented. There are several lists of European natural enemies of C. arvensis and evaluations of their potential as biological control agents (Rosenthal, 1980; Rosenthal and Buckingham, 1982; Wang and Kok, 1985). Toth and Cagan (2005) established an extensive list of organisms associated with the family Convolvulaceae worldwide and their potential as biological control agents. The List of Natural Enemies comprises species specialized on Convolvulaceae, but is not exhaustive.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Seeds of C. arvensis naturally fall from the plant to the ground below. They may then be dispersed greater distances by water. It is also possible for plants to spread locally from underground rhizomes.
C. arvensis seeds are consumed by birds and may then be dispersed to new locations.
It is possible for the seeds of C. arvensis to be dispersed accidentally as a result of agricultural practices, the movement of vehicles, equipment and seeds (both agricultural crops or horticultural).
Economic ImpactTop of page
C. arvensis can cause economic losses by decreasing yield of agricultural and horticultural crops. This is done by competing for light and nutrients and even choking crops as it rapidly grows. Annual crops such as cereals and grain legumes appear particularly susceptible to yield loss from C. arvensis with yield reductions of 20-80% recorded (Phillips and Timmons, 1954; Black et al., 1994). It is also widely reported as a troublesome weed in vineyards. C. arvensis has the ability to seriously impede harvesting of annual crops, because the crop becomes entangled with the twining stems. In addition, C. arvensis plants can harbour the viruses that cause potato virus X disease, tomato spotted wilt and vaccinium false bottom (DiTomaso and Healy, 2006).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
C. arvensis grows rapidly and will compete with native vegetation for nutrients, moisture, space and light. Plants will climb neighbouring plants and as a result alter habitats and decrease the biodiversity of an area (Bio-EAFRINET, 2016).
The foliage of C. arvensis contains alkaloids that can cause intestinal problems in horses grazing on heavily infested pastures (Todd et al., 1995).
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Centrocercus minimus (Gunnison sage-grouse)||USA ESA listing as threatened species||California; Colorado||Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013|
|Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz tarplant)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014|
UsesTop of page
Uses ListTop of page
Human food and beverage
- Leaves (for beverage)
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
C. arvensis is similar in appearance to a number of species within the same genus. However, they can be distinguished from them fairly easily. For example, Convolvulus siculus has flower petals which are white or tinged bluish-lilac, about 6 mm long, C. farinosus has shorter petals 11-16 mm long, white in colour and tinged pinkish purple (the petals of C. arvensis grow to 20 mm) whilst C. sagittatus has much shorter petals 9mm long, white in colour to pink with purple centre (Bio-EAFRINET, 2016).
In the USA, Polygonum convolvulus may also be mistaken for C. arvensis however, its leaves are more pointed (National Park Service, 2016).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
C. arvensis is the subject of legislative control in several countries, which can include prohibitions on movement of the plant or produce contaminated by propagules of the plant (Genn, 1987). Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992) report that C. arvensis is declared as a proclaimed weed under legislation in several states in Australia. Depending on the legislation and category of declaration, the weed is subject to prohibition of sale and of movement of propagules (either on its own or as a contaminant of agricultural produce). It is also a weed banned from importation into Australia under national legislation. C. arvensis is considered a noxious weed in most of US states where it is prohibited in some of them (USDA-NRCS, 2016). It is also reported as a noxious weed in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016).
Sheep and cattle (Sa'ad, 1967) readily graze C. arvensis. The weed does not generally appear to be a problem in areas frequently grazed by ruminants. If animals constantly remove the foliage, and thus the source of photosynthates for the perennial root system, it follows that the weed will be controlled in the longer term. However, there are reports that feeding on C. arvensis can adversely affect the health of stock (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992) but these appear to be very sporadic.
Cultivation / Mechanical Control
Phillips and Timmons (1954) carried out research which showed that C. arvensis could be eliminated within two seasons with careful cultivation practices, provided all aerial shoots were cut completely within 12 days of emergence. The weed could be eliminated with an average of 16 cultivations. Timmons and Bruns (1951) showed no practical advantage in cultivating deeper than 7.5-10 cm, but that the interval between cultivations could be lengthened to three weeks with deeper compared to shallow cultivation. Again, excellent control was obtained after two seasons (Holm et al., 1977). Shallow cultivation implements using normal cropping practices (one to two cultivations in autumn) do little but spread C. arvensis and increase the density of shoots emerging in spring (Schweitzer et al., 1988). Fragments of roots as small as 5 cm can regenerate (Swan and Chancellor, 1976). Therefore, if cultivation is to be used to successfully control the weed, it has to be frequent, thorough and persistent during the time that stems emerge. A minimum of two seasons appear to be necessary for a satisfactory outcome.
Rosenthal and Buckingham (1982) state that a European survey indicates that 140 species of insects, three mites and three fungi are associated with C. arvensis.
In the 1970s, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated a programme for the biological control of field bindweed; two biological control agents have been released in North America so far. The gall mite Aceria malherbae (Acari: Eriophyidae) was released in Texas in 1989 and has been redistributed since in several US states and in Canada (Boldt and Sobhian, 1993; McClay et al., 1999). In heavily infested plants, the shoots are distorted and growth is severely stunted. However, establishment and impact under field conditions are variable and appear to depend on moisture levels. Effective control of C. arvensis with A. malherbae also requires additional management such as regular mowing and redistribution of mites. The bindweed moth Tyta luctuosa (Lep.: Noctuidae) was released in 1987. Establishment was reported from Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington (McClay and De Clerck-Floate, 2013; Pacific Northwest Moths, 2015) and reports from Oregon suggest that it has had a low impact (Andreas et al., 2015).
In 2008 a new programme was initiated and additional potential agents were selected for screening at CABI in Switzerland. Experiment found the flea beetle Longitarsus rubiginosus (Col.: Chrysomelidae) and Longitarsus pellucidus not suitable as a biocontrol agents and the agromyzid fly Melanagromyza albocilia (Dipt.: Agromyzidae) proved difficult to rear in the lab (open-field tests are necessary to further assess the host specificity of this fly). The defoliating moth Emmelia trabealis (Lep.: Noctuidae) and the tortoise beetle Hypocassida subferruginea (Col.: Chrysomelidae) were selected for preliminary open-field tests. However, results were of such study were inconclusive and need to be repeated and additional tests in the lab with critical test species (e.g. sweet potato) would be necessary. Given the presence of other defoliating herbivores on C. arvensis in North America, investigations on natural enemies that attack other parts of the plant would be more fruitful. Attacking the root system will be critical to the successful control of the plant.
Control of seedling C. arvensis and shoots emerged from perennial rootstock is quite effective using a number of widely available herbicides at normal rates. For example picloram, 2,4-D, MCPA, dicamba and glyphosate (Wiese and Lavake, 1985; Westra et al., 1992; Matic and Black, 1994; USDA-FS, 2016). Trifluralin at relatively high rates also gives short-term control (Warner et al., 1974). Longer-term control of the perennial root system is much more difficult and only appears possible with high rates of herbicides such as glyphosate (Wiese and Lavake, 1985), imazapyr (Schoenhals et al., 1990; Heering and Peeper, 1991; Matic and Black, 1994) and picloram plus 2,4-D (Humburg et al., 1981; Alcock and Dickinson, 1974). Application of the latter two chemicals results in persistent soil residues over a considerable period, which restricts cropping. Personal communications and literature references indicate that programmes based on persistent use of 2,4-D or MCPA for at least 5 years also appears to have controlled the perennial root system. Herbicide efficacy appears to vary from region to region and may be due to differences in the relative susceptibility of clones of C. arvensis (Whitworth and Muzik, 1967; DeGennaro and Weller, 1984) or variations in climate between regions (Meyer, 1978; Sherrick et al., 1986). It also varies according to the timing of application of the herbicide (Davison and Bailey, 1974).
ReferencesTop of page
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19/12/2016 Updated by:
Ghislaine Cortat, CABI-CH, Switzerland
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