HEDGE BINDWEED (Calystegia sepium)

Hedge Bindweed

Eurasia

Calystegia sepium is a climber, a familiar sight in towns, gardens, woodlands & open spaces. Its tendrils appear in March & the plant twines its way upwards, wrapping itself round anything with which it comes into contact. Leaves are arrow-shaped & bottle green. Large, elegant WHITE trumpet flowers appear from July to September.

Bees’ Favourite.

As a nectar source, Hedge Bindweed attracts pollinators. Bees, Butterflies (Gatekeeper/Hedge Brown) and Hoverflies are attracted to the flowers, which are said to remain open all night and be pollinated by night-flying moths. This is also a larval food plant for The Convolvulus Hawk Moth.

But whatever points this wildflower may have scored with its services to wildlife, its habit of relentlessly smothering everything in its path has made it the bane of gardeners. It can grow to 4 metres, overwhelming all other plants it encounters on its way. Some of its roots have been found at 16 feet below ground level, and digging out the root system will be labour lost for the gardener if any piece of root is left; a new plant will grow from that piece.

Bindweed and Pyracantha

Horwood says it is ‘emblematic of obstinacy’, with folknames of ‘Devil’s Guts’ and ‘Devil’s Garter’ *.

Other names: Bearbind, Bellbind, Belle of the Ball, Bine Lilies, Bride’s gown, Bugle vine, Creeping Jenny, Daddy White-Shirt, Devil’s Nightcap, Gramophones, Grandma’s Nightcap, Granny-pop-out-of-bed, Granny’s Night Bonnet, Heavenly trumpets, Hedge Bell, Hedge-Strangler, Hooded Bindweed, Holland Smocks, Lady’s Nightcap, Lady’s Smock, Larger Sunshade, London Bells, Old man’s nightcap, Rutland beauty, Wedlock, White Witches Hat, Wild Morning Glory, Withy-vine (‘unchanged for 1,000 years’), Withy-weed, Withy-bind.  

A R Horwood, BRITISH WILD FLOWERS in their Natural Haunts, The Gresham Publishing Company Ltd, 1919.*

Here in Highbury, each spring finds Calystegia sepium making its way through to our side of the wall from next door’s concrete garden, where vegetation is cut back only once a year. In 2014 we allowed more of it to climb and flower on our side, to encourage the comeback of the Plume Moths.

 

BEE VISITING hedge bindweed flower, jun 19 2014

Bee visiting Hedge Bindweed flower, 19 Jun 2014

PLUME MOTH Amblyptilia acanthadactyla on Teasel stalk, 29 july 2014

Plume Moth on Teasel stalk, 29 July 2014