Black Bindweed is a climbing plant found in cultivated and waste ground. It is frequently seen in arable land, and as a garden weed, mostly around the East of Scotland, and rarely in the North and West, including the Isles. It is not a true bindweed and doesn’t belong to the bindweed family (Convolvulaceae), but is a member of the Dock family.
It has limp trailing or climbing stems which use other plants for support, and has a twining habit, which is similar to other bindweeds, and as such can be a troublesome weed which curls tightly around other plants.
Leaves grow alternately along the stems. They are rough on both sides but hairless, and stalked, with a heart-shaped or arrow-shaped leaf blade markedly pointed at the tip.
The flowers are small and inconspicuous, growing in whorled cymes at the ends of the stems. Each tiny flower has a perianth consisting of 5 greenish-white lobes. 8 stamens with purple and white striped anthers crowd around a central style with yellow stigma.
After seeding the flowers ripen into dull black 3-sided fruits.
The seeds of Black Bindweed are edible after the outer husk is removed. They were ground into powder by our ancestors and used to make gruel. It was, however, a lot of work for little nutrition.