New Zealand Status: Indigenous
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Calystegia sepium is a herbaceous perennial with attractive flowers and stems that twine around other plants, always in an anti-clockwise direction, up to a height of four metres. The arrow shaped leaves are 50 to 100mm long and 30 to 70mm wide, arranged spirally, simple, and pointed at the tip.
Flowers are trumpet shaped, 30 to 70mm in diameter, white or pale pink with white stripes, occurring from late spring through summer. Buds are covered by large bracts which remain covering the sepals. The fruit develops as an almost spherical capsule, 10mm in diameter, that contains 2 to 4 large, black seeds which can remain viable for many years.
Calystegia sepium grows quickly and easily overwhelms other plants including shrubs and small trees. Its aggressive self-seeding and creeping roots, which can be 3 to 4m long, cause it to be a persistent weed and have led to its classification as an invasive weed.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader