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Larger Bindweed

Calystegia sepium

  • Name also: Hedge Bindweed, Bellbine, Rutland Beauty, Hedge False Bindweed, Wild Morning Glory
  • Family: Bindweed Family – Convolvulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial climbing herb.
  • Height: Stem up to 3 metres (10 feet) long, twining, alternate, bristly, glabrous.
  • Flower: Corolla widely funnel-shaped, white or sometimes pink, 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in.) wide, fused, very shallowly 5-lobed. Calyx 5-lobed, subtended by two opposite bracts, virtually covering calyx. Stamens 5. Pistil of 2 fused carpels. Flowers solitary, axillary.
  • Leaves: Alternate, long-stalked. Blade triangular–cordate, sharp-tipped, basal lobes angular, basal notch V-shaped.
  • Fruit: Capsule.
  • Habitat: Seaside hedgerows, scrub and seaweed heaps. Also an ornamental, an escape, and a leftover from old gardens in gardens, back yards and waste ground.
  • Flowering time: July–August.
  • Harmfulness: Harmful invasive species.

Larger bindweed is able to grow over four metres (13 feet) high in a single summer. This means it stretches up to 20 cm (8 in.) in 24 hours – during its most intense period it is almost possible to watch the plant grow in front of your eyes. Larger bindweed is able to grow so high by winding itself around other plants or a trellis. Young shoots grope around to find a suitable erect and supportive object or plant. Unlike most other plants, larger bindweed always turns anti-clockwise.

Larger bindweed in Finland likes to use seashore willow, meadowsweet and nettles for support. It is often also cultivated as an ornamental on balconies, porches and around pavilions. On the other hand many people regard larger bindweed as an unwanted guest in the garden whose vigorous energy chokes out other vegetation. Wild, freedom-loving larger bindweed easily runs amok outside the garden too, and the species has achieved its current status in the wild in a relatively short space of time. A pink-flowered subspecies spectabilis is often found in and around gardens, while the original subspecies sepium is always white-flowered. Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) follows people too but has clearly smaller flowers.

Other species from the same family

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