Cobaea scandens

Cathedral bells

Family: Cobaeaceae

Origin: Central and South America

Cathedral bells with hanging purple and white flowers.
Flowers are large and bell-shaped. They start off green at first before turning purple.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Whole region — Progressive containment, council delivered

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial woody vine. Tendrils are clawed. Flowers are trumpet-shaped, purple and borne in spring. Seed capsules are < 95 cm long and ripen in autumn. Seeds are papery and winged.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell cathedral bells. As cathedral bells is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant cathedral bells within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will manage cathedral bells at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see cathedral bells anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at


Riparian margins, forest, scrub.


Seeds dispersed by water, wind and gravity. Vegetative spread from layering and tubers. Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

Smothers native vegetation and prevents seedling establishment.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of cathedral bells flower from above.
Flowers are bell-shaped and 6-7cm long.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Climbing vines of cathedral bells with a purple flower at the end of one.
The leaves are dark green above and whitish underneath.
Close up of cathedral bells with long hooked stamen.
The seed capsules are up to 95mm long.
Photo credit: Holly Cox
Cathedral bells flower in between trees and shrub.
Vines grow over trees and shrubs forming a dense canopy, smothering native plants.
Photo credit: Miranda Bennett
Close up of cathedral bells flower.
Green seed capsules contain winged seeds.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Cathedral bells flowers in various stages of growth.
Cathedral bells have branched tendrils that are purplish when young and woody at the base.
Photo credit: Miranda Bennett