Cathedral bells
Polemoniaceae - Cobaea scandens

What does it look like?

Cathedral bells is a fast-growing evergreen climbing vine and can grow to 6m tall.  The leaves consist of three pairs of oval leaflets, whitish underneath and dark green above, with twining tendrils growing from the midrib. The bell-shaped flowers are green when young but turn purple as they mature.  The 'fruit' are hard, oval capsules 5-8cm long, and split into sections releasing numerous winged seeds. 

Cathedral bells grows over trees and shrubs in forest margins, roadsides, riverbanks, gardens, hedges, shelter belts and open areas.

Why is it a problem?

Cathedral bells can form a dense canopy that out-competes desirable plants by smothering them. It is tolerant of a range of soil conditions and light levels, including partial shade.

Large numbers of viable seeds are spread by wind and water, and re-growth can also occur from stem frgments or when vines that touch the ground grow roots.

Control Methods

Physical control

  • Hand pull or dig out small vines including roots, ensuring no vines remain touching the ground as they will re-root. Dispose of roots at a refuse transfer station or bury deeply.

Herbicide control

  • Cut vines as close to the roots as possible, and treat rooted ends liberally with Tordon Brushkiller (100ml/L) or Banvine (200ml/L) or picloram gel or Yates Woody Weed killer (400ml/L). Cut fragments can sucker so treat cut material with herbicide, bury deeply, or dispose of at a refuse transfer station.

  • Spray during spring/summer with Banvine (120ml/10L) or Yates Woody Weedkiller (24ml/L).

Related Links