Useful information

Fluffy calistegia: bindweed, but not the same

Anyone who is at least a little bit familiar with the wild flora of central Russia, of course, knows field bindweed(Convolvulus arvensis) and fence calistegy, or a new fence (Calystegia sepium)... These two curly grasses represent here the bindweed family. At first glance, the calistegia is fluffy (Calystegia pubescens) - the same bindweed, only larger. And if you look closely, there is no difference, except in the size of the flowers and minor details. But scientists, although they identified the plants in one family, nevertheless bred them into different genera. So there is a reason for that.

Both of these plants are our original natural species. Of course, you are familiar with the bindweed - this most pernicious weed. (Better not to know!) But has anyone seen calistegy outside the city - in nature? Me neither! So - you need to look better!

Fluffy calistegiaIntake calistegia

Bindweed in assortment

So, the bindweed family (Convolvulaceae) we, the inhabitants of Central Russia, know only two of its representatives. Meanwhile, this family is not even very small, but very, very solid - 50 genera and 1500 species. But the bindweed prefer the tropics. It is in the tropics that the largest genus of bindweed, the morning glory, thrives. (Ipomoea), including about 500 species. Genus bindweed (Covolvulus) also not small - 250 species. Bindweed, by the way, are more or less evenly represented on all continents except Antarctica.

But the genus Calistegia, or new(Calystegia) against this background it is very modest - only 25 species. In the European part of Russia there is only one calistegia - a fence - "bindweed" with large, pleasant pale pink "gramophones". In fact, the epithet urban would be equally suitable for her. Indeed, despite its natural origin, this herbaceous vine is more often found in the city than in natural communities. Although the city spreads rot and drives out most of the wild herbs, the urban environment, on the contrary, turned out to be more favorable for calistegia. And the point is, obviously, in those dividing structures with which a person fences and delimits the urban area: walls, fences, fences. It is at such structures that the kalistegia finds comfortable conditions for itself.

Calistegia was one of those plants that I met in preschool age. We called her a cracker. The ability to flap her flowers, as well as whistle with two fingers, swim like a dog, ride a two-wheeled bicycle, play "classics" ... was part of the gentleman's kit of a 6-7-year-old boy. First, fold the index and thumb of your left hand into a ring. Then you carefully put the funnel of the flower in there and, folding the palm of your right hand in a small boat, you beat the urine. If everything is done as it should, then a shot similar to the pop of "air" is heard. It would seem a simple matter, but try to make sure that the shots come out not every other time, but when you want, and can be heard from a hundred meters away!

It must be said that the specific epithet "fence" for calistegia is extremely accurate. If you want to make acquaintance with her, look for her by the fence. It is the fences (she especially loves mesh fences) that the kalistegia owes its presence in the city. The fence gives her both support and a safe haven. Although Calistegia is not considered as dangerous a weed as a bindweed, it is very difficult to lime it. On the site at our city house, for example, the bindweed is a hundred years old, but calistegia is flourishing. What only we did not do with her, but she is alive, alive!

The reason for this vitality lies precisely in its attachment to fences. The fence is a kind of state border. And near the borders, gardeners are usually less active than in the center of the site. Yes, and the people on different sides of the fence are different in their zeal for work - someone is fighting weeds, and someone is "on the drum." Calistegia just needs this. If one of the neighbors begins to oppress her, then she will leave for the cordon, and wait out there "dashing times".And when you get distracted, or get tired of fighting with her, she will return and declare herself with renewed vigor - she is not familiar with fatigue!

So we come to the main figurant of this article - a native of Northern China, fluffy calistegia (Calystegia pubescens), which is considered the most beautiful of the calistegi. This grassy vine climbing clockwise can climb to a height of 3 (4) m. In shape and size of leaves, it looks more like a field bindweed than its namesake. They are relatively small, with three sharp lobes - one, the longest, directed forward, and the other two obliquely backward. In general, a typical spearhead. The roots of the fluffy calistegia are the same as those of the fence - white, cord-like, only slightly thinner. And as it should be for a bindweed - a twig in all directions.

Fluffy calistegia

Flowers separately. The flowers of this calistegia are whitish-pink, double, up to 7-8 cm in diameter. They are very diverse in shape, from almost regular “roses” to fancifully crumpled “scraps of paper”. Liana blooms in May-July for at least two months in a row.

So you know

The most famous representative of bindweed in culture is the "sweet potato" sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)... It is cultivated throughout the humid tropics. Sweet potato tubers taste good, are higher in calories than potato tubers, and are considered healthier.

In China, fence calistegia is used for food - yes, yes, the same calistegy that grows here. Its white filamentous roots turn out to be not only edible, but also tasty. If you boil them and then fry them, then it will quite pass for asparagus.


Fluffy calistegia (hereinafter simply - calistegia) is winter-hardy, relatively undemanding to soil fertility, moderately drought-resistant, sun-loving. Cultivation of a plant does not present any particular problems, but in order for the vine to develop well and bloom profusely, it is necessary to choose the right place and soil conditions for it.

Fluffy calistegia

Landing site. Support... The place is chosen open to the sun, preferably slightly elevated, protected from the winds. Groundwater - no closer than 1.5 meters. Kalistegia does not like drafts, so it is best to place it against the wall - on the south or west side of the gazebo or house. Calistegia definitely needs support. If the liana is grown wall-by-wall, then the most practical are mesh trellises, Other options for supports: an arch or a pillar. In order for the vine to stick well to them, structurally they must be openwork, and not tubular.

The soil. Fertilizer. Watering... The soil is light loamy or sandy loam, rather loose, but moisture-consuming, rich in organic matter, pH 6-7. The substrate can be prepared on the basis of sod land, humus and sand 1: 1: 2.

Since the roots of calistegia are localized mainly in the surface layer of the soil and do not have a branched lobe, prolonged drought can lead to the loss of turgor by the leaves. It's okay, but the lack of moisture makes the plant save energy on flowering. To prevent this from happening, the earthen coma should not be allowed to dry out.

Underground restriction... Possessing typical "bindweed" habits, calistegia takes root in all directions - it climbs where not asked, takes root and clogs decorative compositions. It should be noted that the presence of support to a certain extent disciplines the vine. But only an underground limitation is able to calm it down completely.

Practice shows that the depth of the restriction should be at least 20 cm, and so that the vine does not seep on top, it should protrude slightly (2-3 cm) above the soil surface. A good option is the relatively shallow plastic containers with a capacity of 15-20 liters, in which large-sized ones are sold.

Photo by the author

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