Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Climbing Buckwheat - Fallopia scandens   (L.) Holub
Members of Polygonaceae:
Members of Fallopia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Polygonaceae
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Author(L.) Holub
DistributionMostly Mountains and Piedmont; Coastal Plain records tend to be from brownwater-influenced areas and others with relatively high mineral content.

N.S. to Man., south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceGenerally fairly common to common in the Mountains and Piedmont; rare to locally uncommon in rich sites in the Coastal Plain.
HabitatMoist or wet brownwater floodplains and bottomlands, moist slope forests and woodlands -- typically along edges and openings (as it is a vine). Can occur in somewhat weedy places, but normally in damp places with rich soils.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationCommon Climbing Buckwheat is one of 3 native species of climbing buckwheats or black-bindweeds (genus Fallopia). All 3 are very distinctive in their twining, slender stems that bear rather triangular, cordate-based leaves. Fringed Climbing Buckwheat (F. cilinodis) differs from our other two by its bright white petals and its fringe of hairs on the ocreae (short collars at the junction of the main plant stem and leaf stem) vs. pale greenish or creamy-white petals and smooth ocreae; it grows only at high elevations. The former Crested Climbing Buckwheat (F. cristata) has been moved into P. scandens by Weakley (2023); it has shorter petals and achenes (see Weakley [2018] for details), but is otherwise very similar. The alien F. baldschuanica is woody-based, high-climbing, and freely branched. Common Climbing Buckwheat is a familiar species in the mountains and Piedmont, seen along margins of moist forests, with its creamy-white or pale greenish flowers and winged fruit and its triangular leaves.
Taxonomic CommentsTreated by some authors to include F. cristata as a variety, as in RAB (1968), or lumped as in FNA. Older references named it as Polygonum scandens, or more specifically as P. scandens var. scandens. Weakley (2023) now lumps cristata into scandens.

Other Common Name(s)Climbing False Buckwheat. Most references name this as Climbing False Buckwheat, yet the very similar F. cristata is usually named as Crested Bindweed! And, the congeneric F. cilinodis is often named as a Black-bindweed! There needs to be a common group name for very similar species -- Buckwheat or Bindweed or Black-bindweed?! Thankfully, Weakley (2018) brings sense to this group, calling each as " xxxxx Climbing Buckwheat".
State RankS4 [S4S5]
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSame data. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorriePiedmont, Brown's Mill Road at Bear Creek, Sept 2020. MoorePhoto_natural
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