Convolvulus – better known as the bindweed flower – is a genus of roughly 250 plants, and is a member of the convolvulaceae family. These cosmopolitan plants, though simple in appearance, are quite varied in structure and growing habits. For instance, they may grow in woody shrubs, from vines or bines; they may be either perennial or annual. Although some species can grow out of control and become weeds that choke out other plants, most types can easily be trained and grown in gardens. The stems of the bindweed flower are very slender and flexible, and contain spiral arrangements of medium-green leaves. Much like the common morning glory – which bindweeds are closely related to – these blossoms have velvety, trumpet-like heads that may appear in muted shades of white, pink and lilac, or brighter hues of blue, purple or yellow.
Although the bindweed flower can be something of a pest at times, people are becoming increasingly aware of its usefulness. A thick, sticky resin can be derived from the milky-white juice that flows naturally through the roots. The resin is usually hardened and used as a potent purgative. The flowers themselves are also considered a very effective laxative and diuretic when made into a tea. This tea can also be used to clean damaged skin, sooth a fever, and lessen the blood flow of menorrhagia. In addition to medicinal uses, the bindweed flower has a number of other useful applications. For instance, the petals, when dried, take on a dark, delicate appearance that can easily be fit into a vintage art project; the thin vines can also be used in art projects, as they are tough enough to double as a glossy twine in floral arrangements; a natural green dye can be extracted from the entire plant; and the stalks and roots can be eaten. When eaten raw, these plants tend to have a slightly bitter aftertaste; however, when the plants and young shoots are steamed, they are said to develop a mild, sweet flavor.
As a gift, the bindweed flower is most commonly associated with family. Because of its twining habits, it is often associated with attachment; because it grows in such abundance, it is also associated with fertility. These flowers may be given in small bundles, but are most frequently presented in the form of garlands. These blossoms are usually given to mothers and fathers on special occasions, but are sometimes given as a simple, beautiful token of appreciation to the giver’s grandparents, children or even siblings.