There was a plant that kept catching my eye as we walked from one net to the other at bird banding last Thursday. It reminded me of Dodder because of the way it wound around other plants. But unlike Dodder, this plant had leaves and presumably produces its own food by photosynsthesis, whereas Dodder is a parasite.
Black Bindweed (Polygonum convolvulus) is an introduced plant that can be found throughout the world, especially where the land is used for agriculture. Here is an interesting tidbit I dug up:
By climbing up the crop, P. convolvulus also causes lodging in grain crops (Neururer 1961, Hume et al. 1983), and can cause subsequent harvesting problems when its vines wrap around moving parts of machinery (Forsberg and Best 1964, Fabricius and Nalewaja 1968). Further, high weed densities can raise the moisture content of harvested grain (Neururer 1961) and contribute to heating in storage when harvested with cereals as a seed contaminant (Holm et al. 1991). Mature plants of P. convolvulus produce large amounts of seed and these are often difficult to separate from grain crops, because of their similar size. Therefore, P. convolvulus is a serious contaminant of seed stocks in several places in the world (Gooch, 1963; Bogdan, 1965). (source)
Now, of course, you have to wonder how a plant with green leaves, green and/or white flowers, and red stems gets the name Black Bindweed. Here’s how: