Every year the false buckwheat vines grow up over the front porch railings and part way up the posts. They stay as the vines are attractive all summer into fall. Frost kills them but they are easy to pull off and dispose of, no thorns, stickers or burs.
Fallopia scandens Holub
June to November N & I Family: Polygonaceae
Flower: Racemes or sprays of flowers 2 inches to 8 inches long stick up from the leaf nodes. The greenish-white flowers form whorls around the flower stalk. Each flower has two inner and three outer petal-like tepals. The outer ones are winged.
Leaf: The alternate leaves are dark green on top, light green underneath. They are mostly heart-shaped and on petioles which get progressively shorter as the leaf gets further along the vine.
Stem: This vine can reach 20 feet long. The stem twines. It is round or ridged, green turning red with age, hairless or with hairs on the ridges. A tan sheathe surrounds the stem at each leaf node.
Root: The perennial fibrous roots get fleshy.
Fruit: The small, black seed is inside the outer three winged tepals which fuse around it. The winged seeds hang down on the flower stalk.
Habitat: This plant prefers partial shade but tolerates full sun as long as the soil is good and enough moisture is present. It’s found along roads, yards, pastures, edges of woods, along streams and in prairies.
False Buckwheat is one of those plants found worldwide. There are varieties of it so the population is partially the native one and partially an imported variety. The plant is not concerned and grows abundantly under the right conditions.
Numerous vines come from the rootstock. These cover the ground and any object or plant they encounter. The vines can be thick enough to blanket and smother these objects. They look light weight but are heavy enough en masse to bend small plants or saplings to the ground.
The flowers are small but make up for this with their number. The winged seed pods are pretty. Since the vines bloom for two to three months, they make pretty plants for growing on trellises.
False Buckwheat is an aggressive grower and seeds freely. The roots are persistent. In areas where the vines are mowed frequently, they will eventually die out.