A species of plant that is present on campus in greater numbers this year is Black bindweed, Fallopia convolulus. It has appeared in quite large numbers behind the Agriculture Buildings and also around the Harborne Building.
Black bindweed is not related to the usual bindweeds with trumpet-shaped flowers. It is instead a close relative of the very tall Japanese Knotweed that is so invasive in gardens and the countryside. It’s flowers are small and green or reddish.
The plant is not an active climber. It is an agricultural weed that tends to sprawl across the ground or scramble over other plants.
Some of the plants are being attacked by a rust fungus, Puccinia polygoni-amphibii.
The rust causes yellow marks on the upper surface of the leaves and eruptions of brown spores beneath.