Fallopia scandens (Climbing False Buckwheat)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Life cycle:annual, perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist woods, thickets, fields, roadsides
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:3 to 15 foot vine
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Erect, unbranched racemes of short-stalked flowers arising from the leaf axils all along the twining stems. Flowers are about 1/8 inch long with 5 light green to white or rarely pinkish tepals (petals and similar sepals), the outer 3 strongly winged with a pale ruffle. Inside are 8 greenish white stamens and a 3-parted style. Flowers are initially erect to spreading, briefly opening at the tip of the cluster, but quickly droop as they set fruit.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are simple and alternate, ¾ to 5½ inches long and ¾ to 2¾ inches wide, heart to arrowhead shaped, the basal lobes often angled, the taper to the sharply pointed tip often concave. Surfaces are somewhat rough textured from short, hair-like projections (scabrid) along the lower veins, leaf edges, and in rows on the slender stalk. A small sheath at the base of the leaf stalk, called an ocreae, is shed as the leaves become mature. Stems are twining across the ground or on surrounding vegetation, often becoming reddish with age in dry sunny locations, smooth or with rows of short, rough hairs (scabrid).

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The developing fruit is pendulous with a green center and three, large, white, ruffled wings. The mature seed inside is smooth, shiny, and dark brown to black.


Climbing False Buckwheat is one of three common vining species in the Fallopia genus in Minnesota and is typically perennial. It is easily distinguished from the native Fringed Black-bindweed (Fallopia cilinodis) and the non-native Black-bindweed (Fallopia convoluvus), by its erect clusters of relatively large hanging fruits with prominent wings on the three outer tepals.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey and Sherburne counteis.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: meli - Fillmore county
on: 2015-09-15 03:58:02

Found in early September along the Root River Trail between Lanesboro and Whelan

Posted by: Lauralie Jean - East side St. Paul
on: 2016-08-31 20:35:16

Growing up my front porch rainspout

Posted by: Rylee - St. Louis County - Hibbing
on: 2017-04-20 13:53:57

My mother has this in her backyard garden right in the middle of town, and it is becoming a huge problem. We have tried to get rid of it each year, but it always comes back. It's starting to creep up by the siding of the house, and I worry it will cause problems in the future. Any helpful tips on how to get rid of this for good without killing the rest of her garden?

Posted by: Anita - St. Louis County - Balkan Township
on: 2020-07-18 10:13:00

We have this growing in many areas of our yard. I cut it back or pull it out. It's hard to control.

Posted by: Theo - Minneapolis
on: 2020-08-10 21:41:19

I dug a small one (3") out of my Moms yard in Minneapolis. Planted it in a small pot I placed on a wrought iron piece. It grabbed on and is growing a new leaf every three days!

Posted by: Carroll Aasen - Chaska
on: 2021-07-25 14:29:12

I have had this in my yard (1st appearing in landscape rock areas. I suspect it was introduced through bird seed as I feed a variety of seeds for birds. Hard to kill, vining wrapping around everything.

Posted by: Luciearl - Fairview Twp, Cass County
on: 2021-10-30 09:05:38

Discovered this growing, climbing the trees along Pine Song lake. Although considered weedy, bees, moths,butterflies, and beetles benefit from the flowers. Mammals eat the seeds and dense thickets provide wildlife shelter.

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