Convolvulus arvensis

Convolvulus arvensis

The Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis Linnaeus, 1753) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Convolvulaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Solanales Order, Convolvulaceae Family and therefore to the Convolvulus Genus and to the C. arvensis Species.
Two varieties of this plant are recognized:
– Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis; with wide leaves;
– Convolvulus arvensis var. linearifolius, with linear leaves.

Etymology –
The term Convolvulus comes from convólvo wrap, due to the often twining stems of the species of this genus.
The specific epithet arvensis comes from arvum campo, arable land: arable land, a reference to the growing environment.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Field Bindweed is a plant native to Europe and Asia. In Italy it is a very common plant and present from the plain to the mid-mountain.
Its habitat is that of cultivated fields, hedges, uncultivated fields, meadows, road edges, vegetable gardens, gardens, fences, man-made areas, where it prefers clayey soils rich in nitrogenous substances; diffused from 0 to 1,500 m a.s.l.

Description –
Convolvulus arvensis is a perennial herbaceous plant, with a climbing or creeping habit, which can reach, when ripe, a length of 0.5–2 m.
The plant has a whitish rhizome and herbaceous stems generally wound to the left.
The leaves are spiraled, linear to heart-shaped, 2–5 cm long, 2–3 cm broad and with a 1–3 cm petiole.
The flowers are carried to the axil of the median leaves and have calyx and corolla both bell-shaped: the calyx, herbaceous, 4-5 mm, the corolla from 1 to 2.5 cm in diameter, white or pale pink, with five radial stripes of a slightly darker pink. The flower has purplish anthers and white stigma with two diverging lobes.
The antesis is from April to October.
The fruit is a loculicidal capsule, globose, bilocular, glabrous or hairy, 6-8 mm in diameter, with 2-4 seeds, high in the loculus at the formation, subspherical or pyriform, trine, with a leathery, opaque, brown surface, papillosa or tuberculate.

Cultivation –
The Field Bindweed is a plant that grows spontaneously and which, if grown in the open ground, should be planted between April and May, this plant adapts to any type of soil, as long as it is well drained and very sunny, but prefers alkaline soils . It is a perfect plant for creating flower beds and borders, it is also spectacular in pots and, if well cared for, it is very luxuriant.
It is a weed note of corn.

Customs and Traditions –
Convolvulus arvensis is a species that presents a certain variability: in the north in humid environments, hairless or almost hairless plants prevail, with corolla white or streaked with pink on the outside; in the south and in the arid areas, hairy plants prevail with often ± reddened corolla and sometimes lignified stem at the base; these variability seems to be due to adaptations to environmental conditions.
This plant in addition to producing attractive flowers is an excellent forage for rabbits.
Under certain conditions, however, it is often considered an unwelcome weed in gardens and vegetable gardens due to its rapid growth and consequent suffocation of cultivated plants.
It is emphasized, among other things, that being able to become, in certain conditions of fertility and fertilization, one of the most harmful and difficult to eliminate weeds, and that it often carries a virosis that easily transmits to potato, tobacco and of tomatoes. In the USA this plant has been included in the list of the most harmful weeds.
Inside the plant there are resin glycosides (convolvolin), tannins, flavonoids, starch and crystallizable sugars.
It is a cholagogue, purgative, diuretic and laxative plant due to the presence of a purgative glycoside.
It is useful in abdominal and hepatic dropsy, chronic constipation, and constipation due to hepatic insufficiency.
For external use, the whole bruised plant is used to mature abscesses and boils.
In one of the legends collected by the Grimm Brothers, La tazzetta della Madonna, and also attested in countries such as Tuscany, it is said that this flower was used by the Madonna to drink wine when she helped to free the cart of a carter. For this reason, legend has it that “the little flower is still called the Tazzetta della Madonna”.
Furthermore, from an ecological point of view, it is a plant visited by bees for its nectar.

Preparation Method –
This plant is used internally for its cholagogue, purgative, diuretic and laxative abilities.
For external use, on the other hand, the entire bruised plant is used to ripen the abscesses and boils.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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