Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Solanales - Family: Convolvulaceae
Large Bindweed is very similar in appearance to Hedge Bindweed, which is the most common of the bindweeds that occur in Britain. This is an introduced species but now widely naturalised.
Usually hairless, this climbing perennial plant can reach a height of well over 3m. It has arrowhead-shaped alternate leaves, and white or occasionally pink flowers 6 to 9cm in diameter in the form of broadly trumpet-shaped corollas with five fused white sepals backed by two large overlapping bracts. The flowers have creamy white centres.
Common and widespread across most of Britain and Ireland, partcularly near towns and villages, Large Bindweed Calystegia sepium is native to southern Europe but has been introduced to many other parts of the world including North America and Australia.
Large Bindweed climbs over hedges and fences, it is also a common sight on scrubby wasteland.
In Britain and Ireland, Large Bindweed usually produces flowers from June to September.
Hedge Bindweed Calystegia sepium, a species native to Britain, is very similar but can be distinguished by its two non-overlapping bracts. Field Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis has smaller flowers than Large Bindweed and Hedge Bindweed, and they are generally pink, with or without white stripes, but just occasionally they may be entirely white. Other far more colourful members of this family grow throughout Europe, and the Mediterranean region in particular. My favourite of these is Convolvulus tricolor. It is found on farmed land, and no doubt the farmers do not share my enthusiasm for it.
All of the bindweeds are anti-clockwise twining climbers.