Bindweed - a plant often mistaken for Japanese knotweed

Plants commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed can halt mortgage applications, so it’s important it’s identified correctly. 

A lot of the calls we receive are from anxious homeowners and potential buyers, who have spotted a suspicious looking plant that has grown rapidly, wasn’t there last year and they’ve been told by a friend that it may be knotweed.

Our advice in this situation is not to panic. Take photos of the plant and the area it's in. We offer a free Japanese knotweed identification service from a photo. This is a great first step if you’re not completely sure what the weed is and are not ready to commission a full survey. We do not charge for this identification but we do have a JustGiving page to support our chosen charities. 

On average, around half of the images we receive each week are not knotweed. There are many plants that look like Japanese knotweed and have similar characteristics. The plants we find that are most commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed are:

  • Bindweed (as pictured above)
  • Russian vine
  • Bamboo
  • Broadleaf dock
  • Ground elder

While these plants do not contain all the features of knotweed, they have enough of a similarity to cause anxiety. The leaf shape in bindweed is heart shaped and is comparable to knotweed; however bindweed does not have the flat edge like knotweed does. Russian vine has similar white flowers and has the ability to grow rapidly, quickly overwhelming other garden plants. Knotweed canes in the winter have a very similar appearance to bamboo, which is often why it is not spotted during this time.

Take a look at our Japanese knotweed picture gallery and our identification videos to aid you in identifying knotweed throughout the season.

Japanese knotweed has some very distinctive features, once you know what to look for:

  • Spade shaped leaf
  • Red speckled stem
  • Zig zag formation
  • Creamy-white flowers in summer

Be aware of bonsai regrowth, which often occurs after glyphosate based herbicides are applied. Bonsai growth looks very different to normal Japanese knotweed, with much smaller leaves and spindly stems.

If you find a plant and think it's Japanese knotweed but are not completely sure, email your pictures to expert@environetuk.com and we will be able to assist you. Or alternatively call 01932 868 700 and one of our consultants will be happy to help.

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