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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Cobaea scandens
cathedral bells


Cobaea scandens - cathedral bells (Photo Colin Ogle)Reproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

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Fast-growing, evergreen perennial climber with tendrils on its leaves, growing up to 2-3 m tall. Large, bell-shaped purple flowers in summer. Leaflets in three pairs, dark green, with tendrils.

  • Flowers Light to deep purple, green at first, bell-shaped 6-7 cm long. Flowers Dec-May.
  • Fruit Capsule 5.5-8.5 cm long, with broad seeds 10-15 mm long including the wing.
  • Leaves Leaflets usually in three pairs (including the basal pair), with tendrils. Each leaflet oval, 4-12 cm long by 2-5 cm wide, dark green above, whitish underneath, with a brown stalk. Mid-rib with twining tendrils.
  • Stems Angled.


Trees, shrubs, hedges and unkempt places.


Scattered, in frost-free localities in the Auckland region, Waikato and Wellington Province in NI. At Karamea (Westland) in SI. Originally from Central and South America.


Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Cobaea after Fr. Bernado Coba, 18th cent. Spanish Jesuit missionary and botanist; scandens (Lat.) = climbing.

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Web-notes: Weed Links

On this site

Reproduced from Common Weeds of New Zealand:

External Links

WeedbustersWeedbusters New Zealand
Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem.
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.
Weed keyNew Zealand Weeds Key
An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalised and weedy plants.
NZ Plant Protection SocietyNew Zealand Plant Protection Society
Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects."
Massey UniversityMassey University Weeds Database
A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

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Last updated: March 1, 2021