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I found out that people eat field bindweed here (Convolvulus arvensis)  RSS feed

 
Rebecca Norman
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Over my years in Ladakh I've asked many people what wild plants they eat. Today while weeding with some ladies I found out that one of them says that in her village, they eat everything I've heard of people eating here before, plus, she assured me they definitely eat field bindweed. There was some both flowering and preflowering in the garden we were weeding, so I'm sure of the id. She showed me how you quickly grab a tendril and strip the leaves off, though she said that this time of year (late June) is probably too late. She said they take it home and simply cook it like spinach, no processing necessary. I had heard kids tell me their villages ate it before, but I often think kids are possibly mistaken so I had discounted it. But this woman was extremely knowledgeable and had collected and cooked herself all the 10 - 15 things she was telling me about, and everything else she told me matched what I had previously heard, so I believe her. (What was also nice was that because we were there in the garden, I got to visually id a lot of edible plants that I'd heard only by name and color of flower before).

I'd thought field bindweed was toxic, even mildly toxic or at least unpalatable to grazing animals! Well, that's what the internet told me, anyway.
 
John Elliott
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It is in the same family as sweet potato. Not that that means much. After all, tomatoes and eggplant are in the same family as nightshade.

But any toxicity that bindweed has can be diluted with other forages (if you are talking about using it as animal feed) or by cooking (for human consumption). Me, I don't mind seeing it pop up in the garden. It's just another ingredient in chicken salad.

Maybe I didn't say that right. It's another ingredient in the weed salad that I feed to the chickens.
 
nancy sutton
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Well, I was on a two hour edible plant tour of the University of Washington grounds with Arthur Lee Jacobson, a longtime icon among Seattle area gardeners. It was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. In addition to tasting many weeds (sow thistle highly recommended for taste , he snipped off the 3-5" growing tips of 'morning glory'... he corrected himself, and named it bindweed, and said it was calistegia sepium (hedge bindweed) and very edible in stir fries, etc. He confirmed that the same was true of convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed). I was dumbfounded, after searching high and low for some use for this eager beaver. PFaF has no edibility for field bindweed, but two 'apples' for hedge bindweed (!).

Hmmm.... I'm hoping to tour Arthur Lee's home garden next week, and question him more closely on this/these plants. Especially, if he's eaten them And if there are any the failsafe method(s) of distinguishing one from the other.

 
Heather Ward
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I'm very surprised to hear this, because back when we had horses our vet said that eating bindweed could actually kill them. My goat has eaten large quantities of it at times when she escaped her pen😉, without ill effects, and my chickens have eaten it. I would love to hear anyone's experience with it, because I have a lot of it.
 
Matu Collins
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I'd love to find that it is delicious and nutritious. I've read that it is strongly laxative in humans. It does not look appetizing to me like some leaves do.
 
nancy sutton
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I think I've been mistaken for years. I've thought the 'bindweed' I have is convolvulus arvensis, field bindweed, while Arthur Lee Jacobson identified the same plant as calystegia sepium, and very edible. Here's a website from a regional university which clearly identifies 'my bindweed' as the edible hedge bindweed, calystegia sepium...and, of course, Arthur Lee Jacobson is right ;) Plants for a Future also indicates that the hedge bindweed is edible.

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/nursery-weeds/feature_articles/vines/vine_weeds.html
 
Heather Ward
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Thanks so much, Nancy. The link enabled me to determine that I have the useless field bindweed. Too bad.
 
Matu Collins
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My chickens avoid eating bindweed. When I keep them in their run for one reason or another they peck every other green thing through their fence but the bindweed they leave, which means the bindweed is free to take over the fence if I let it!
 
William Bronson
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Thank you Nancy!
That website shows me pretty conclusively That what I have is the edible variety.
It is still a pain in the butt,but now I can harvest instead of weed!
 
Susan Doyon
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mine looks like the edible but I tasted it last year and it is horridly bitter
 
Marc Levesque
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The strain we find on the east coast of Canada is edible,yes and the leaves won't win flavor awards.
Ok in a pinch,bitter.The immature seeds however,not that bad,if you get them while still white in the pods.
 
nancy sutton
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Yeah, they're coming up now... and look good, but NOT tasty. I haven't tried cooking them... will report on that ;) I'd try the seeds but am trying awful hard to not let them get that far!
 
William Bronson
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Bitter greens go in the pot with some fat and garlic. At least that's what I grew up with.
I will try the bind weed my self,with some salt pork!
 
Rebecca Norman
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Well, the lady who told me that her village often eats it said they only eat it when it's small and spouting in the spring. I got the impression they grab it when it's about 6 inches tall, and mix it with the copious other edible weeds that sprout in spring.

I've since looked at photos of hedge bindweed and am less than 100% sure now that what we have here is field bindweed and not hedge bindweed. What's a conclusive contrasting feature?
 
nancy sutton
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Well, the leaf that I have coming up all over now looks just like middle photo.. hedge bindweed, calystegia (oh, how long I've confidently called it 'convolvulus' ! - a good lesson in not being so sure of what I'm so sure of ;). Last summer, after straightening this out, I noticed a plant with deep (and more parallel) veins just like the photo on the left.. field bindweed, the real convolvulus. I don't think I've had it before, but knowing what it actually was, I quickly eradicated it... only a small plant. But the leaf was definitely different from my familiar bindweed. But that was summer, and right now I don't have the 'eradicated' plant coming up to compare the leaves. The veins might be the tell.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Rebecca Norman wrote:I've since looked at photos of hedge bindweed and am less than 100% sure now that what we have here is field bindweed and not hedge bindweed. What's a conclusive contrasting feature?

Somewhere above was a link to a page contrasting the different bindweeds, and I'm back to thinking that what we've got around here is indeed Convolvulus arvensis. (I'm the OP who said that a lady here told me it is eaten in springtime along with other wild cooking greens)
 
Peter Ingot
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donkey and goats love field bindweed in my experience. As a general rule, goats love many poisonous plants as long as they have a choice of which poisonous plant to eat that day.
 
Kathleen Corum
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What one species will/won't eat doesn't tell you about the effect on another.... Keep that in mind.  My sheep would eat all the rhubarb they could reach.  And amaranth is poisonous in some seasons to cattle.  I am disappointed to learn that field bind weed isn't edible after all.  I hadn't tried it, but finally had some real good out of the lambs quarters/goosefoot which came up in my garden this spring.... DELICIOUS!
 
Ivan Weiss
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Kathleen Corum wrote:What one species will/won't eat doesn't tell you about the effect on another.... Keep that in mind.  My sheep would eat all the rhubarb they could reach.  And amaranth is poisonous in some seasons to cattle.  I am disappointed to learn that field bind weed isn't edible after all.  I hadn't tried it, but finally had some real good out of the lambs quarters/goosefoot which came up in my garden this spring.... DELICIOUS!

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My cattle devour it greedily, and seem to prefer it to anything else, even comfrey. I never see a speck of bindweed in any of my pastures. Where it grows in other places, I just pull it and feed it to them. I look at it as a resource.
 
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