What is this plant that grows like a weed in my yard (I live in Massachusetts). It has very small 5-pointed flowers which are blooming right now (2nd week in June). The flowers are purple. The plant grows somewhat like a vine and has a tendril, but does not climb very high and it seems to like the ground. The flowers are quite small, about the size of an eraser on a pencil, or slightly larger.

The leaves are simple, opposite and spade-shaped.

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  • Welcome Tyler! I live in Massachusetts too and have a number of different types of wild ground cover and vine plants. My first instinct is that it's in the vinca/periwinkle family. It looks like your flowers have gone by, as have mine. Do you have any picture of it in bloom? Thanks! Jun 13, 2016 at 0:19
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    @Sue No, they just bloomed. That's what they look like in bloom. The small balls you see on the left about the size of a dragee are the buds before they have bloomed. Jun 13, 2016 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


I finally figured out what this stuff is. It is, as Sue said, of the periwinkle family. It is an invasive plant from southwestern Europe called "black swallow-wort".

BLACK SWALLOW-WORT (Cynanchum louiseae) Herbaceous, perennial vine twines 3 – 8 feet high. Leaves opposite, 2 – 5 inches long, toothless, narrowly to broadly oval, pointed tips, dark green and shiny. Flowers tiny, dark purple with 5 pointed, downy, triangular petals that are as long as wide. Seedpods milkweed-like, slender and tapered, 1.5 – 3 inches long. Seed on silky filaments. Threatens woodlands, forests, grasslands and savannas.

  • That's a nice find - not easy with so many things to choose from! I'll have to look outside and see if this is part of my collection! By the way, once they've finished blooming, many of the plants in this family are easily transplanted. I take pieces of mine and stick them in window boxes or hanging baskets. They provide a nice trailing element, and are free! Jun 17, 2016 at 23:14

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