Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Wild Buckwheat: Polygonum convolvulus

Weed Description:   An annual twining or trailing vine that may reach as much as 3 1/2 feet in length.  Wild buckwheat is found throughout the United States.
Seedling: Cotyledons are linear, approximately 20 mm long and 3 mm wide, without hairs.  Stems are without hairs.   First leaves occur on petioles and are without hairs.
Stems:  Stems are erect at first, then become twining or creeping and branched at the base.  A membranous sheath (ocrea) surrounds the stem at the base of each leaf petiole.
Flower: Flowers are clustered in racemes from the leaf axils (the position between the stem and a leaf), are inconspicuous and greenish-white in color.

Roots:  Fibrous root system.

Leaves:  Leaves are alternate, triangular to heart-shaped with a pointed tip.  Basal lobes point inward toward the petiole.   Leaves have a continuous, untoothed margin.
Fruit:  A 3-angled achene that is black, 3-4 mm long, and enclosed in the green, winged sepals.

Identifying Characteristics:  The ocrea at base of each petiole and the triangular leaves with basal lobes that point inward are both characteristics that help to distinguish this weed from most other plants.  This weed is often confused with Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis).  However, the inward-pointing bases of wild buckwheat leaves versus the outward-pointing bases of field bindweed leaves are characteristics that may be used to distinguish between the two.  Additionally, the ocrea present in wild buckwheat and not in field bindweed is a distinguishing characteristic.