categoryZClimbers Climbers List 
categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 

RUSSIAN VINE

MILE A MINUTE VINE

Fallopia baldschuanica

Dock & Knotweed Family [Polygonaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

category
category8Climbers
 
category
category8Deciduous
 
status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
(3+2)
type
typeZclustered
 
stem
stem8round
 

16th Aug 2010, Southport sand dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Will aggressively and quickly scramble to over two storeys high completely smothering and enveloping any house or tree.


5th Aug 2004, Grange over Sands, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
When in flower has very showy creamy-white trusses of flowers. (Here climbing amidst leaves of Common Polypody).


Linnyshaw Road, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Leaves typically Bindweed in shape. Leaf stems can be reddish.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & L/pool canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


31st Aug 2009, Linnyshaw Road, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
A flower stalk emerges from the axils of short reddish brown 'spikes' or more correctly pedicles.


13th Aug 2007, Chesterfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
From up close the flower trusses are seen to consist of a mixture of 5 tepals, three of which are winged/keeled on the outer side and have a lime-green stripe along the centreline and which protect the fruit (similar to those on Docks). The two other tepals are not winged and lack the lime-green stripe. The zygomorphic 3+2 arrangement of tepals together form the inflorescence and resemble a 'five-petalled' flower.


17th Aug 2007, Ambergate, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Three of the tepals are reddish to greenish white bulges within three white wings. The 3-winged tepals open up to become part of the five-tepalled flowers (with 3 of them winged) plus two extra tepals which have mysteriously appeared from somewhere when the inflorescence opens - perhaps they were inside?


17th Aug 2007, Ambergate, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have five 'petals' (actually tepals), three of which have a greenish stripe down the centre and arranged in an equilateral triange; plus two slightly shorter white tepals without stripes sitting between two of the larger tepals, making an bi-symmetric (zygomorphic) arrangement.


17th Aug 2007, Ambergate, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The three plus two tepal arrangement on display. Eight stamens carry cream-coloured pollen at the tips. The tripled inner are the three lime-greenish styles.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & L/pool canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Low hanging flower. Stamens (8) witb white filaments and white anthers. Stigma with 3 lime-green styles.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & L/pool canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Stigma with lime-green styles.


16th Aug 2010, Southport sand dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Tepals, clustered in hanging lianas which typically terminate the flowering stems.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & L/pool canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Photo inverted so that the on-looker is much better able to discern the tri-winged structure of the 3 external winged tepals.


17th Aug 2007, Ambergate, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The ovate/triangular leaves are wavy-edged and often bronzed when young.


31st Aug 2009, Linnyshaw Road, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Older leaves are dark green. Lower stems woody.


11th Aug 2015, Leeds & L/pool canal, Parbold, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Technically, the leaves are ovate-triangular, cordate, and obtuse to acuminate.


Not to be confused with : Russian Knapweed, Russian Mustard, Russian Cinquefoil, Russian Lettuce, Russian Comfrey, Grape Vine or Chilean Potato-vine [plants with similar names]

Some similarities to : Black Bindweed but that grows very much shorter, is an annual rather than a perennial, and has much smaller flowers with many more tepals than flowers.

Hybridizes with : Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) to produce Fallopia × conollyana, which has woody stems with rhizomes but scarcely climbs at all. It is intermediate in leaf-shape, inflorescence, and stigmas. the seeds are viable but only 2 of these hybrids have ever been found growing in the wild.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

When grown in gardens, this plant can be very troublesome, rampantly growing so tall as to cover the house and block out the windows or cause damage. It can easily climb up to two storeys high.

A member of the Dock and Knotweed Family it exhibits characteristics of both: it has tepals like docks and it has sheaths on the stems at every node like Knotgrasses. But the leaves are more characteristic of Bindweeds and Knotweeds than Dock. Indeed, it shares the same Genus name Fallopia with Japanese Knotweed, Giant Knotweed, Black Bindweed, and Copse-Bindweed. The flower trusses, from afar, resemble those of Japanese Knotweed and some other members of the same Genus.

Habitat includes gardens, but is often naturalised in hedges, in scrub and on cliffs. Unlike its cousin Japanese Knotweed it does not spread rampantly or un-controllably around the countryside, merely grows rampantly upwards or outwards as one plant. It is known as the Mile a Minute Vine with good reason, for it can grow a metre in a week. Random outbreaks are unusual, if it is found 'in the wild' it is probably a throw-out from a garden.

The fruit, in reality an achene, is about 2mm long and shiny black. It is native to the far East such as western China and Tibet.

It is said by some that some cultivated 'varieties' differ from the wild, but Mr. Clive Stace finds no evidence for this.


  Fallopia baldschuanica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Polygonaceae  

Distribution
 family8Dock & Knotweed family8Polygonaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Fallopia
Fallopia
(Bindweeds)

RUSSIAN VINE

MILE A MINUTE VINE

Fallopia baldschuanica

Dock & Knotweed Family [Polygonaceae]

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