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information about bindweed Hairy bittercress is an annual weed that can spread quickly. Jimson weed (Datura stramonium, a member of the Belladonna alkyloid family) is a plant growing naturally in West Virginia and has been used as a home remedy since colonial times. Due to its easy availability and strong anticholinergic properties, teens are using Jimson weed as a drug. Plant parts ca …

Bindweed

Field Bindweed · Convolvulus arvensis L. · is a perennial broad-leaved plant that spreads over the soil and other structures, and often form mats. Leaves alternate along the stem. Leaf size and shape will be varied; typically leaves are up to two inches long and egg-shaped. Flowers are typically white, but often they are light pink and have two leaf-like structures half-way between the main stem and the base of the flower, which is a distinct characteristic.The flowering stage is when most field bindweed is noticed.

The root system is what makes the weed so hard to control. Roots can extend to as far as 30 feet deep. These roots compete with crops for moisture and nutrients, and give field bindweed an advantage over the newly seeded crops by already being in the soil.

Seed pods are egg-shaped, 1/4″ in diameter, and contain two to four seeds. Seeds are shaped like a slice out of an orange, small (only 1/8″ long), and covered by rough raised dots. Though small, these seeds can lay dormant for as long as 30 years.
Specific Control

Field Bindweed is a noxious weed that can be a severe problem in the largest field or the smallest garden. A summer herbicide treatment will control existing growth and eliminate seed production. For lasting control, a three-phase treatment plan should begin at first blooming and continue through fall:
Phase I Treat Field Bindweed with an approved herbicide or control measure shortly after flowering blooms appear. Phase II Retreat new bindweed growth approximately 30 to 45 days after the initial treatment or when 12″ – 18″ runners exist. Phase III Retreat returned bindweed growth with an approved systemic herbicide after the first frost in the fall, but before nighttime temperatures reach 20°F. Chemical Controls

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Hairy bittercress: A weed to watch out for

Hairy bittercress is an annual weed that can spread quickly.

Flowers and seed pods of hairy bittercress. Photo by Lori Imboden, MSU Extension.

Have you recently noticed plants with small, white flowers on the edges of your lawn, flowerbeds and rock pathways? During April and May, populations of the winter annual weed hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) become increasingly visible. Hairy bittercress has a low growing rosette similar in form to a dandelion. It raises its profile in early spring with the appearance of flowers and seeds on a vertical stem. Like many members of the mustard family, hairy bittercress sets seed prolifically. It grows quickly and a few plants or seeds can generate a more widespread infestation in even a year’s time.

The first true leaves of hairy bittercress are heart shaped. Photo by Erin Hill, MSU.

Hairy bittercress is a winter annual weed. Its seeds germinate in fall beginning as early as September. The first true leaves are heart-shaped, followed by compound leaves with two or more pairs of leaflets and a kidney shaped terminal leaflet. The leaves that emerge in the fall form a small rosette that will overwinter. Once the weather warms in spring, it sends up stalks of small, white flowers followed by slender seed pods known as siliques.

Hairy bittercress leaves have two or more pairs of leaflets and a kidney shaped terminal leaflet. Photo by Lori Imboden, MSU Extension.

Once the seed pods ripen, disturbing the pods can propel the seeds as far as 16 feet from the mother plant. This seed dispersal adds to the soil seed bank and primes the area for another infestation to emerge in early fall. After setting seed, the life cycle is complete and the plants die. Hairy bittercress and other winter annual weed species, like common chickweed and purple deadnettle, are not typically present during the summer months.

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Once the seed pods ripen, disturbing the pods will send the seeds flying as far as 16 feet. Photo by Lori Imboden, MSU Extension.

Hairy bittercress is best managed mechanically when it is young. Remove it by hand, hoe or tillage in early fall or early spring before it sets seed. If plants are flowering, composting is discouraged as seeds may develop. To manage this weed using herbicides, the proactive approach would be to use a pre-emergence herbicide in the late summer (late August to early September) to target the plants at the time of germination and prevent successful emergence.

If plants have already emerged, applying a post-emergence herbicide to actively growing plants before seedpods form may be effective. If using an herbicide, be certain it contains an active ingredient that will target this weed. Always read and follow all labeled instructions to increase effectiveness and prevent personal or environmental harm.

The dangers of jimson weed and its abuse by teenagers in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia

Jimson weed (Datura stramonium, a member of the Belladonna alkyloid family) is a plant growing naturally in West Virginia and has been used as a home remedy since colonial times. Due to its easy availability and strong anticholinergic properties, teens are using Jimson weed as a drug. Plant parts can be brewed as a tea or chewed, and seed pods, commonly known as “pods” or “thorn apples,” can be eaten. Side effects from ingesting jimson weed include tachycardia, dry mouth, dilated pupils, blurred vision, hallucinations, confusion, combative behavior, and difficulty urinating. Severe toxicity has been associated with coma and seizures, although death is rare. Treatment consists of activated charcoal and gastric lavage. Esmolol or other beta-blocker may be indicated to reduce severe sinus tachycardia. Seizures, severe hypertension, severe hallucinations, and life-threatening arrhythmias are indicators for the use of the anticholinesterase inhibitor, Physostigmine. This article reviews the cases of nine teenagers who were treated in hospitals in the Kanawha Valley after ingesting jimson weed. We hope this article will help alert primary care physicians about the abuse of jimson weed and inform health officials about the need to educate teens about the dangers of this plant.

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