Bacopa Bacopa Bacopa Bacopa

What are they?

There's a small group of plants in the Scrophulariaceae that are grown in the UK as garden bedding or hanging-basket plants and which cause confusion because the horticultural industry has made repeated errors in misidentification of the introduced plants, thus requiring periodic name changes to put the errors right. Collectively, these plants are known under the name of Bacopa, but the plants commonly seen in cultivation are not Bacopa species and they are variously also known as Sutera or Trailing Phlox. Online searches often throw up pictures of Chaenostoma mislabelled as the completely different Bacopa monnieri and it would be very helpful if the name Bacopa could be dropped in favour of another name for these plants! The genus Chaenostoma is native to southern Africa while true Bacopa species are found throughout the world's tropical regions as well as in North America.

Where are they found?

This is a group of small, trailing plants that are commonly grown as garden ornamentals. Recently, occasional plants have been recorded where they have self-seeded in urban areas but they do not seem to persist for long.


The white, pink or lilac flowers with trailing stems are quite distinctive and unlikely to be confused with anything else if the various features are observed carefully.

Bacopa      Chaenostoma cordatum

Introduced as a garden ornamental and occasionally found self-seeding in urban areas, especially in walls and pavement cracks. Flowers June to September. Small, trailing plants often grown in hanging baskets. Wild plants in South Africa are always white so the origin of pink- or lilac-flowered plants is unclear and may be due to selective breeding or may perhaps represent hybrids with other species; great variation in leaf shape may also support this idea.

Bacopa Bacopa Bacopa Bacopa