National Council for The Conservation of Plants and Gardens
National Collection of the Genus Codonopsis and Allied Genera
Welcome to the new Codonopsis Website.
Anyone who has visited our garden in mid and late summer will know we have great affection for the genus Codonopsis. It often surprises us how few people grow them and indeed how many people have never heard of them so we’ll try to redress the balance. The name is taken from the Greek “kodon”- bell and “opsis”-resembling, a reference to the shape of most, but by no means all, of the flowers. It is a member of the Campanulaceae family.
The genus contains some 60 plus species from mountainous regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, across the Himalaya to the far east including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan but a great number of them are not in regular cultivation. About half the genus grow in China with many of them endemic. However of those that are more easily obtained there are some garden plants of great subtlety that deserve to be better known. Ignoring the botany it seems to us that there are three main groups:
a) Twining climbers with blue or white saucer shaped flowers.
b) Other twining climbers with bell shaped or tubular flowers in green, pale yellow
and purple, often with fritillary type markings.
c)Scramblers, sprawlers and small rock plants, often with pale blue flowers and
darker markings, again with variations on the bell shaped theme.
The aim of this website is to introduce this lovely group of plants to a wider audience and we hope your interest has been piqued to entice you further into the wonderful world of Codonopsis.
Ann & Bob Armstrong