Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Names for great and hedge bindweeds

The white flowers of hedge bindweed, Calystegia sepium, and large bindweed, C. silvatica, are conspicuous in summer when the plants scramble up fences,  over railway embankments and through marsh vegetation.  The two species are not easy to tell apart, and they can hybridise, so it’s unlikely that the ‘folk’ distinguished between them.

We are currently trying to collect any local names which people may know for these plants.  A number of previously recorded names can be found under ‘Large bindweed’ on the Material Collected page of this website, and, to start things off, here’s a recent contribution from Wales:

‘In Welsh one name for it (there may be others) is Ladi Wen, which means white lady, and is also a sort of mythological banshee woman.  When children misbehaved parents would tell them the Ladi Wen would come and get them!  I don’t know if this still goes on anywhere, mind you.  But Ladi Wen is still going strong in parks and gardens and everywhere – not popular with gardeners I know, but I think it’s a beautiful flower.’


 1. I knew it as granny-pop-out-of-bed or granny poppers.  I lived in Cambridge when I first learnt that, however I can’t remember who I learnt it from (I was very young) – it might not necessarily be of Cambridgeshire origin [Tommy Root, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, November 2022].

2. Welsh – Clych y perthu, bell-of-the-hedge [Ceri Leigh, Usk, Monmouthshire, November 2022].

3. [South London] Parachutes! Used to pop them on a daily basis [Helen Firminger, London, November 2022].

Please send your contributions to

Image: Palace Road Nature Garden, Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth, November 2022.

Updated 9 November 2022.

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