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[An Archaeologist’s Guide to British Species] #37: Bindweed, Black

January 6, 2022
Black bindweed growing on bare earth
Black bindweed (Fallopia convulvulus). Image by Aung – public domain

Bindweed, Black

Fallopia convolvulus (L.) A. Love 1970

Also known as bear-bind, bind-corn, climbing buckwheat, wild buckwheat, corn-bind, devil’s tether and ivy bindweed

Black bindweed is a common segetal (a weed found amongst crop plants) which flourishes in fields and gardens in lowlands. Unlike other plants known as bindweed, to which it is not closely related, it twines in a clockwise direction. It has shining black berries, which are poisonous to humans and livestock, although the seeds they contain are edible. Black bindweed seeds are present in Neolithic contexts at Cwmifor, Carmarthenshire, where it may have been gathered as a foodstuff, and at Medieval sites in Dublin. Black bindweed was a constituent of the barley gruel that was the last meal of the Iron Age Danish individual preserved in a peat bog and now known as Tollund Man.

Fallopia convolvulus on the Digital Plant Atlas

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