Calystegia marginata


Calystegia: Name is derived from the Greek words kalyx 'cup', and stege 'a covering', meaning 'a covered cup', the calyx of some bindweeds being enclosed in two bracts.
marginata: From the Latin marginatus 'edge, margin', where one colour is surrounded by a very narrow rim of another

Common Name(s)

small-flowered white bindweed

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - SO, Sp
2009 - SO, EF


Calystegia marginata R.Br.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Lianes and Related Trailing Plants




Indigenous. North Island from Te Paki to Manukau in the West and Cuvier Island in the east. There are historic records from near Thames. Present in Eastern Australia.


Primarily coastal but also found in lowland areas. Prefers open shrublands, rough pasture or bracken dominated sites, usually on coastal headlands, but also on road sides, along railway embankments and in rough pasture and lawns.


Glabrous perennial vine with creeping rhizome and slender twinning or prostrate stems (when prostrate these root freely at the nodes). Petioles slender (20-)50(-55) x 0.5-1 mm. Lamina bright green, 25-80 x 15-45 mm, sagittae, usually narrowly triangular (rarely broadly so); apex acute to acuminate; basal lobes acute, usually distinctly toothed (resembling a fish tail); basal sinus broad and rounded. Flowers usually solitary; peduncles 10-25 mm long, narrowly winged. Bracts broad-ovate, obtuse. 10 mm long. Sepals broad-ovate, < bracts, obtuse. Corolla 15 x 12 mm, white, campanulate. Capsule 6 mm diam., globose. Seeds black, reticulately ribbed, ribs protruberant.

Similar Taxa

Can be confused with C. tuguriorum and vegetative forms of C. sepium subsp. roseata. From both it is readily distinguished by the bright-green, narrowly sagittate leaves with conspicuous fish tail-like notches on the basal lobes. The white flowers are much smaller than in either species and are borne on conspicuously winged peduncles. The seeds are covered in distinctive protuberances absent in the other two species.


Present throughout the year but peaking in spring and summer

Flower Colours



Present throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Somewhat weedy. The small arrow-shaped and tailed bright green leaves and tiny white flowers are quite unusual and attractive. Does well on an rock wall or on a grassy bank. Cold sensitive. An excellent coastal vine for a bach property.


Ignorance seems to be the main threat. Because it is frequently mistaken as a convolvulus, it is sprayed. Also its preference for successional habitats and along road margins tend to make it especially vulnerable to routine, roadside weed spraying. Despite this problem there is some field evidence to suggest it is actually increasing its range. Plants have even been found in urban areas such as Whangarei and Auckland, in situations where the species had not previously been known.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Capsules are water and possibly also wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 November 2005. Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Webb et al. (1988), supplemented with observations made from fresh and dried material.

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons.Christchurch, New Zealand, Botany Division, D.S.I.R..

This page last updated on 12 Nov 2014