Bindweed, or Convolvulus, L. a genus of plants, comprising forty-three species, of which only three are natives, namely :
1. The arvensis, or Small Bindweed, a common plant in fields and hedges, but particularly troublesome in gardens of a gravelly soil ; its white and red flowers appear in June and July. See With. 239, and Engl. Bot. 312.—As the roots of this plant, particularly in wet seasons, strike deep into the ground, and injure the growth of corn, they ought to be carefully extirpated, and transplanted on the sandy banks of rivers and lakes, where they greatly tend to bind the soil. Bees are uncommonly partial to the flowers of the convolvulus ; and it is eagerly eaten by black cattle, and sheep.
2. The septum, or Great Bindweed, likewise a pernicious plant in gardens ; it thrives under moist hedges; its stalk grows to the height of several feet, and bears white or purplish blossoms in July and August. See With. 240, and Engl. Bot. 313. The root of this species is very acrid and purgative to the human constitution ; but does not affect swine, though eaten in large quantities. Its flowers are frequented by bees.
3. The soldanella, or Sea Bindweed, grows on the sandy shores of the sea, but cannot be long-preserved in gardens; its purple flowers blow in July. See With. 240, and Engl. Bot. 314.—This species is also possessed of cathartic properties, so that half an ounce of the juice of the root, or one dram of the powder, is a strong dose. The leaves of the Sea Bindweed have often been externally applied for the reduction of dropsical swellings of the legs; and, it is asserted, with good effect.
Among the exotic species of this plant, we shall only mention the Convolvulus Jalappa, or Jalap, a native of Spanish America, which affords the drastic medicine of that name; the Batatas, or Spanish Potatoes, a delicious root imported from Portugal and Spain, but too delicate to thrive in the open air of our climate; the scoparius, or Bushy Bindweed, which grows wild in the island of Barrancas, and affords, it is said, the fragrant oil and wood of Rhodium ; and, lastly, the Scammonia, or Syrian Bindweed, from the inspissated juice of -which is prepared the efficacious purgative substance known by the name Scammony.