Plants that look like japanese knotweed

Unsure if you have knotweed? Make sure it isn't one these doppelgangers

With Japanese knotweed hysteria gripping the country and we receive a lot of concerned calls regarding rouge plant-life in or near people’s properties. So it will come as no surprise that a lot of the time the plants worrying people are not knotweed at all, and a lot of the time they are often quite common benign plants that are no cause for concern.

We have collated a list of plants below that are often mistaken Japanese knotweed. Take a look to see if the plant worrying you is on the list.


This plant has similar heart-shaped leaves to knotweed and it also displays a similarly ferocious and invasive growth. Like knotweed, it begins to sprout in early spring and can cover massive amounts of space in a short time.

The biggest difference between bindweed and Japanese knotweed is the strength. Bindweed cannot stand up by itself and needs to bind itself around other plants (hence the name). Japanese knotweed will never entwine another plant; it simply grows over the top of them.

(click on images above for hi-res version)

Russian Vine

Russian vine is perhaps the most similar to Japanese knotweed in purely biological terms. It is the same genus and can even pollinate the female Japanese knotweed (though this rarely results in a viable hybrid). Like knotweed, it also has spade-shaped leaves and grows at an exponential rate.

Like Bindweed, Russian vine is another plant that needs to twist itself around something solid, like another plant or a man-made structure like pipes. As previously mentioned, Japanese knotweed will never exhibit this behaviour.

  (click on images above for hi-res version)


This plant can actually look remarkably similar to Japanese knotweed but it has one major tell-tale difference: it is about a tenth of the size. Maxing out at around 30cm, Houttuynia pales in significance when compared to fully grown Japanese knotweed at around 3 metres.

  (click on images above for hi-res version)

Lilac, Dogwood and Poplar

If you live near a wooded area, it is likely that you will have seen these three plants, and they are often mistaken for Japanese knotweed. This is largely due to the shape of the leaves being similar to knotweeds distinctive spade/heart shape.

The biggest give away that these plants are not knotweed are the stems. Anything with bark or twigs can never be knotweed.

  (click on images above for hi-res version)

Red Bistort

This is a common garden plant that a great number of people choose to have their gardens. The way Red Bistorts knotty hollow stems clump together in thickets and the way it produces small flowers in the summer has led to a lot of worried neighbours twitching their curtains, assuming there is knotweed next door.

However, It is relatively easy to tell the difference between Red Bistort and Japanese knotweed. For a start, the flowers are red, not white. It also has long slender leaves that are quite different from the wide leaves found on knotweed.

  (click on images above for hi-res version)

Other invasive weeds

The plants listed above are rarely dangerous to properties and can normally be treated by your common or garden weed removal companies.

However, the plants such as Himalayan balsam, Giant hogweed and buddleia (all of which are often confused for Japanese knotweed) require the attention of invasive weed experts. Use the link below to find out more about these plants.

Wise knotweed service

Invasive Weeds

Japanese knotweed is not the only invasive weed out there and it is certainly not the only Wise Knotweed Solutions treat. We can help with Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and more...

Find out more

Not sure if you have knotweed?

If you have a suspicious looking plant growing on or near your property and want to know whether it is knotweed you can upload your photos to us directly and we will let you know whether you have knotweed or not.

Wise knotweed service

Free knotweed assessment

Have you seen a suspicious plant and want to know if it is the dreaded Japanese knotweed? Simply click the button below to upload your photos and we will get back to you with an answer.

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Do you need professional help with Japanese knotweed?

If you are still unsure whether or not Japanese knotweed poses a threat to your property and you want to speak to an expert, simply contact us online, find your local branch or call today and speak to one of our qualified and experienced Japanese knotweed experts.

Alternatively, you can always book a knotweed survey and have one of our Knotweed specialists take a look.

Book a Japanese knotweed survey