There are a number of plants that look like Knotweed.  This can mean that people spend time worrying about a problem they don’t have.  To avoid this we offer a free identification service to help to put your mind at rest.  It will tell you if you have one of the plants mistaken for Knotweed.

In the last month we have visited a number of sites with plants that look suspiciously like Knotweed.  These plants include Bindweed, Russian Vine, Bamboo, Dogwood and Bistorts.  In each case clients were concerned for the value of their property.  In two cases the plant mistaken for Knotweed was putting the sale of the property in jeopardy.

We offer a guide to identifying Japanese Knotweed on our website.  Check it out and you will see some key identification points.  However these plants that look like Japanese Knotweed share some of these characteristics.

Plants that look like Knotweed


Bindweed has a similar shaped leaf to Knotweed. Check the base of the leaf as the Knotweed leaf has a flat bottom while bindweed leaves are more heart shaped.  Both Knotweed and Bindweed have alternating leaves in a zigzag formation along the stem.  Bindweed grows very quickly from early spring and can take over a wide area with ease, choking other plants in it’s path.  The key difference is that the Bindweed will get itself tangled through all of your shrubs, trees, fences and any gaps it can find.


  • Russian Vine (Fallopia baldshuanica) featured photo above

In the same genus (group) as Knotweed, Russian Vine is often identified as a plant that looks like Knotweed.  The leaves of the vine are very similar although the Russian vine leaves are more arrow shaped and the flowers are easily mistaken for Knotweed to the untrained eye.  We surveyed a property last week and were able to give the relieving news that the client did not have Knotweed.  It is easy to see why they were concerned though.  This vine does grow quickly just like Knotweed and is often referred to as ‘mile-a-minute’.  The biggest difference between Knotweed and this plant is that Russian Vine will tangle itself around another plant or structure.


There are some similarities but this is not a plant that is easily mistaken for Knotweed once you look closely.  It has distinct rings on its stems just like Knotweed but the Knotweed stems have a distinct purple speck through them.  Bamboo stems are tougher than Knotweed and the leaves are thinner.


Like many woody shrubs and trees Dogwood and Lilac are plants that look like Japanese Knotweed as the leaves are very similar.  It is fairly easy to tell the difference by checking out the stems Knotweed is not woody.


The Red Bistort is one of the most common varieties to be found and is the same genus (group) as the Himalayan Knotweed plant.  Before Bistort flowers the leaves with their zig zag leaf formation along the stems are very similar to Knotweed.  During spring and summer there is generally a distinct red flower which is another give away that it is a plant mistaken for Knotweed, add to this the longer slender leaves and the trained eye can easily see a difference.


Fast growing and tall it is easy to see how you might panic if you find this plant growing in the garden.  Having said that closer investigation will show that the stem and leaf formation are different and the flowers are pink instead of creamy white.

Still not sure? Send us a photo and we will help identify the plant for free. 

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