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Cathedral bells

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Cathedral bells


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Why it is a pest plant


Catherdal bells  identifying facts

Production threat Environmental threat Public threat

Identifying features


  • Bell-shaped flowers, 6-7cm long.
  • Flowers are green at first but turn purple once they’ve shed their pollen.
  • Flowering is between December and May.


  • Hard, oval green seed capsules.
  • Capsules are usually 5.5-8.5cm long.
  • Each capsule splits into sections which release numerous flat, winged seeds.


  • Leaves consist of three pairs of oval leaflets, including a small pair at the leaf base.
  • Each leaflet is about 4-12cm long by 2-5cm wide.
  • They are dark green above, whitish underneath and have a brown stalk.
  • These compound leaves are arranged alternately along stems.

Cathedral bells is a vigorous, fast growing, perennial climber with stems up to 10m long. The vines are long-lived and can grow over trees and shrubs forming a dense canopy, smothering native plants.

It can grow well under a range of environmental conditions including shade, drought, wind, salt and differing soil types. The seeds are wind and water dispersed, but the plant is most commonly spread from dumping garden waste or soil movement. It is currently largely restricted to a few sites adjacent to the Waikato River, at Karapiro, Ngāruawāhia and Hamilton.

Cathedral Bell photos 1

Responsibility for control

Waikato Regional Council is responsible for controlling cathedral bells – do not attempt to remove it yourself. However, landowners/occupiers are encouraged to report cathedral bells on their properties and liaise with Waikato Regional Council in areas where control programmes are in place. Cathedral bells is also banned from being sold,propagated, distributed or included in commercial displays.

How to control cathedral bells

If you see this weed on your property, do not cut or treat it. Call 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732) to report it to your local biosecurity pest plant officer.

Catherdral Bells image

More information


  • For advice and additional information on control methods, call our pest plant staff on freephone 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732).
  • Chemical company representatives, farm supply stores and garden centres can also be good sources for advice.


View, download or order the following publications or call our freephone 0800 800 401.

  • National Pest Plant Accord (Manual of plants banned from sale, propagation and distribution) ($10.00 plus GST)
  • Plant Me Instead! (Plants to use in place of common pest plants) (free)
  • Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) (free) (Section 5.8, page 56)
  • Waikato Regional Council pest guide (free)


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