Calystegia sepium

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Calystegia sepium
Calystegia April 2008-1.jpg
Calystegia sepium
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Calystegia
C. sepium
Binomial name
Calystegia sepium

Convolvulus sepium L.

Calystegia sepium - MHNT

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed, Rutland beauty, bugle vine, heavenly trumpets, bellbind, granny-pop-out-of-bed and many others) is a species of flowering plant in the family Convolvulaceae. It has a subcosmopolitan distribution throughout temperate regions of the North and South hemispheres.


It is an herbaceous perennial that twines around other plants, in a counter-clockwise direction, to a height of up to 2–4 m (7–13 ft), rarely 5 metres (16 ft). The pale matte green leaves are arranged spirally, simple, pointed at the tip and are arrowhead shaped, 5–10 centimetres (2–4 in) long and 3–7 centimetres (1+142+34 in) broad.[2]

The flowers are white, or pale pink with five darker stripes, produced from late spring to the end of summer. In the UK, between July and September.[3] In the bud, they are covered by large green but tinged with crimson bracts which remain but scarcely overlap and do not cover the sepals of the open flower.[4]: 567  The open flowers are trumpet-shaped, 3–7 centimetres (1+142+34 in) diameter, white, or pale pink with white stripes. After flowering, the fruit develops as an almost spherical capsule, which is hidden by the bracts. It is 1 centimetre (12 in) in diameter, containing two to four large, dark brown,[3] or black seeds that are shaped like quartered oranges.

The plant thrives in hedges,[3] fields, borders, roadsides and open woods.

Hedge bindweed is toxic, containing calystegine alkaloids.[5]


There are several species of Calystegia which and occur in similar habitats and can be difficult to distinguish, especially when not in flower. It is common practice in Britain to treat C. sepium, C. silvatica and C. pulchra as an aggregate, usually recorded as "C. sepium agg.", whenever identification is uncertain. The use of this term sometimes creates confusion about which taxon is being discussed.[6]

The best way to separate hedge bindweed (sepium) from the other taxa is by the bracteoles, which subtend the flower and wholly or partially encompass the sepals. Hedge bindweed has two rather long, narrow bracteoles which do not touch each other, whereas both large bindweed (silvatica) and hairy bindweed (pulchra) have shorter, wider bracteoles which overlap where they meet.[7][4]

Calystegia sepium bracteoles.jpg Calystegia silvatica bracteoles.jpg
Bracteoles of hedge bindweed (left) and large bindweed (right)


Other vernacular names include greater bindweed, bearbind, hedge convolvulus, hooded bindweed, old man's nightcap, wild morning glory, bride's gown, wedlock (referring to the white gown-like flowers and the binding nature of the vine), white witches hat, belle of the ball,[8] devil's guts and hedgebell.[9] A common childhood pastime in the UK is to 'pop' the flowers from the sepals while chanting "Granny, granny — pop out of bed".

Several regional subspecies have been described,[1] but they are not considered distinct by all authorities:

  • Calystegia sepium subsp. americana. North America.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. angulata. North America.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. appalachiana. Eastern North America.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. binghamiae. Western North America (California).
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. erratica. North America.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. limnophila. Southern North America.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. roseata. Western Europe, coasts. Flowers pink.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. sepium. Europe, Asia.
  • Calystegia sepium subsp. spectabilis. Siberia. Flowers often pinkish.

As a weed[edit]

Calystegia sepium flower and foliage.

While appreciated for its flowers, C. sepium can grow as a vigorous weed plant, and is able to overwhelm and pull down cultivated plants including shrubs and small trees. It is self-seeding (seeds can remain viable as long as 30 years), can rapidly regrow into whole plants from individual pieces such as discarded roots,[10] and the success of its creeping rhizomes (they can be as long as 3–4 m (10–13 ft)) cause it to be a persistent weed and have led to its classification in some American states as a noxious weed.[9]

C. sepium is highly sensitive to glyphosate, a systemic herbicide, but eradication may require several doses.[11]

Similar species[edit]

  • Calystegia silvatica, giant bindweed, is sometimes treated as a subspecies of C. sepium
  • Convolvulus arvensis, field bindweed, is a similar vine with much smaller features. The rear margin leaf projections are sharp.
  • The leaves of Ipomoea pandurata, wild potato vine, are shaped like a heart, not like an arrowhead.



  1. ^ a b "Calystegia sepium (L.) R.Br. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ a b c Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain. Reader's Digest. 1981. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-276-00217-5.
  4. ^ a b Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521707725.
  5. ^[bare URL]
  6. ^ Lockton, Alex. "BSBI species accounts: Calystegia sepium". Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  7. ^ Rich, T.C.G. (1998). Plant Crib. London: Botanical Society of the British Isles.
  8. ^ Wiersema, John H.; León, Blanca (2013). World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference, Second Edition. p. 921. ISBN 9781466576810.
  9. ^ a b "Calystegia sepium (Appalachia False Bindweed, Bearbind, Bellbind, Bingham's False Bindweed, Bracted Bindweed, Bugle Vine, Devil's Guts, Great Bindweed, Heavenly Trumpets, Hedgebell, Hedge Bindweed, Hedge False Bindweed, Large Bindweed, Old Man's Nightcap, Rutland Beauty, Wild Morning Glory) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Dealing with bindweed". BBC Gardeners World Magazine. Retrieved 2022-08-21.
  11. ^ Brook, Roger. "How to control bindweed, Convolvulus". Retrieved 6 June 2021.

External links[edit]