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Scientific Name
Synonyms
Common Names
Family
Origin
Naturalised Distribution
Habitat
Distinguishing Features
Habit
Stems and Leaves
Flowers and Fruit
Reproduction and Dispersal
Impacts
Control 
Similar Species
Legislation
Management
Sources
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Click on images to enlarge


infestation completely smothering a small tree (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


leaves with several finger-like lobes (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of flower with darker centre (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


the rarer white-flowered form of this species (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


flower from side-on, showing small sepals and narrow floral tube (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of mature fruit with four seeds (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of seeds partially covered in hairs (Photo: Steve Hurst at USDA PLANTS Database)


seedling (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


comparison of the leaves of coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica), on the left, and white convolvulus creeper (Merremia dissecta), on the right (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


native beach morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae) is a coastal creeper with similar flowers, but has quite different leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


bush morning glory (Ipomoea carnea subsp. fistulosa) is an introduced species with similar flowers, but has quite different leaves and a shrubby habit (Photo: Chris Gardiner)

Coastal morning glory
Ipomoea cairica

Scientific Name

Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet

Synonyms

Convolvulus cairicus L.
Convolvulus pendulus (R. Br.) Spreng.
Ipomoea palmata Forssk.
Ipomoea pendula R. Br.
Ipomoea tuberculata (Desr.) Roem. & Schult.

Common Names

Cairo morning glory, Cairo morningglory, coast morningglory, coastal morning glory, five-fingered morning glory, five-leaf morning glory, ivy-leaved morning glory, Messina creeper, mile a minute, mile a minute vine, mile-a-minute, mile-a-minute vine, morning glory, railroad creeper

Family

Convolvulaceae

Origin

The exact native range of this species is obscure, but it is thought to have originated in tropical Africa and Asia. It is now found throughout the tropical regions of the world (i.e. it is pan-tropical).

Naturalised Distribution

Widely naturalised in the warmer coastal regions of eastern Australia (i.e. in the coastal districts of Queensland and New South Wales). Also occasionally naturalised in the coastal districts of south-western Western Australia and southern South Australia, and on Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and Christmas Island.

Also regarded as being naturalised in New Zealand, southern USA, Central America, South America and on numerous Pacific islands (e.g. Fiji, New Caledonia, Niue, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Hawaii).

Habitat

A weed of waste areas, disturbed sites, rainforest margins, open woodlands, bushland, gardens, fences, coastal sand dunes and vegetation growing near waterways (i.e. riparian areas). It inhabits tropical, sub-tropical and warmer temperate environments (especially near the coast).

Distinguishing Features

Habit

A rampant long-lived (i.e. perennial) climber reaching up to 5 m or more in height, or creeping along the ground.

Stems and Leaves

The slender stems are hairless (i.e. glabrous), grow in a twining habit, and sometimes produce roots at the joints (i.e. nodes).

The alternately arranged leaves (3-10 cm long and 3-10 cm wide) are divided into five or seven narrow lobes, like the fingers of a hand (i.e. they are palmately lobed). These leaves are hairless (i.e. glabrous) and borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 2-6 cm long.

Flowers and Fruit

The funnel-shaped (i.e. tubular) flowers are purple to pinkish-purple (occasionally white) with a darker purple centre. They are borne singly or in small clusters on short stalks originating in the leaf forks (i.e. axils). These flowers (4-6 cm long and 5-8 cm across) have five petals that are fused into a tube (i.e corolla tube) and five small sepals (4-7 mm long). Flowering occurs throughout most of the year.

The fruit capsules are more or less globular (i.e. sub-globose) in shape and turn from green to brown in colour as they mature. These capsules (10-12 mm across) contain four large brown seeds (about 6 mm across) that are slightly three-angled in shape. The seeds have smooth surfaces interspersed with dense tufts of long silky hairs.

Reproduction and Dispersal

This plant reproduces vegetatively by rooting along its stems and also produces seeds.

Stem fragments and seeds are often dispersed in dumped garden waste and can also be spread by water.

Impacts

Coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) is a significant environmental weed in Queensland, New South Wales and on Norfolk Island. It is also an environmental weed of some importance in Western Australia and on Lord Howe Island, and regarded as a potential environmental weed in Victoria.

This species is capable of very rapid growth and can completely smother trees and understorey plants, but it will creep along the ground in the absence of supporting vegetation. Significant infestations may lead to a reduction in biodiversity through the replacement of native vegetation and the displacement of certain native animals. It is particularly common in the coastal districts of eastern Australia, where it often invades river banks and riparian vegetation. It also commonly invades rainforest margins, where it grows over larger trees and smothers tree saplings and understorey shrubs, and is a major problem in littoral rainforest remnants. However, it is also a weed of sandy beachfronts and other coastal environments, drier forests, wetlands, and limestone cliffs.

Coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) is ranked among the top 30 environmental weeds in south-eastern Queensland, and among the 10 worst weeds in Gold Coast City. This species is actively managed by community groups in Queensland and appears on numerous local environmental weed lists in south-eastern Queensland (e.g. in Redland, Noosa and Maroochy Shires). It is also of significant concern in the coastal districts of northern and central New South Wales, where it also appears on several local and regional environmental weed lists (e.g. in Randwick Shire, Strathfield Shire, Lismore City and Sutherland Shire, on the NSW North Coast environmental weed list, and on the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators environmental weed list for the the wider Sydney and Blue Mountains region).

Coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) has invaded conservation areas in both of these states (e.g. Maroochy River Conservation Park in Queensland and Sturt National Park and Ballina Nature Reserve in New South Wales). It is also thought to pose a significant threat to the bushland reserves in Strathfield Shire, in Sydney, and is listed among the "exotic vines and scramblers " whose invasion of native vegetation is listed as a "key threatening process" in New South Wales.

Remnants of endangered plant communities in New South Wales (e.g. Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland and Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest) are also thought to be under threat from coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica). While on Lord Howe Island, the habitat of the critically endangered Lord Howe Island phasmid (Dryococelus australis) is also thought to be threatened by coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica).

Control

Biosecurity Queensland Control Fact Sheet

Similar Species

Coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) is very similar to common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea ), blue morning glory (Ipomoea indica ), ivy-leaved morning glory (Ipomoea hederacea) and white convolvulus creeper (Merremia dissecta ). These species can be distinguished by the following differences:

Coastal morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) is also very similar to a native species from northern Australia with palmately lobed leaves that is known as palmate morning glory (Ipomoea mauritiana). However, palmate morning glory (Ipomoea mauritiana) can be distinguished by the fact that its flowers are normally borne in larger many-flowered clusters.

Legislation

This species is declared under legislation in the following states and territories:

Management

For information on the management of this species see the following resources:

Sources

Anonymous (1989). Weeds in Australian Cane Fields. BSES Bulletin No. 28, October 1989. Bureau of Sugar Experimentation Stations, Indooroopilly, Queensland.

Anonymous (2002). A Global Compendium of Weeds. http://www.hear.org/gcw. Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project and Department of Agriculture - Western Australia.

Anonymous (2002). Australia's Virtual Herbarium. http://www.anbg.gov.au/avh. Australian National Botanic Gardens, Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Anonymous (2002). Mile-a-minute or Coastal morning glory. Ipomoea cairica. Environmental weeds - information series, EW21. Land Protection, The State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Mines), Brisbane, Queensland.

Anonymous (2003). Ipomoea indica , Ipomoea cairica. Blue Morning Glory, Coastal Morning Glory. Weed Facts. http://www.sutherland.nsw.gov.au/ssc/rwpattach.nsf/viewasattachmentPersonal/WeedFact_MorningGlory_FINAL.pdf/$file/WeedFact_MorningGlory_FINAL.pdf. Sutherland Shire Council, Sutherland, New South Wales.

Anonymous (2006). Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, National Genetic Resources Program, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Beltsville, Maryland, USA.

Anonymous (2006). Mile-a-minute or Coastal morning glory. Ipomoea cairica. Natural Resources and Water Facts - pest series, PP87. The State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Water), Brisbane, Queensland.

Anonymous (2007). Coastal Morning Glory. Ipomoea cairica. Environmental Weeds Profile. http://www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/attachments/Morning%20Glory%2C%20Coastal%20Brochure.pdf. Randwick City Council, New South Wales.

Anonymous (2007). Ipomoea indica & Ipomoea cairica. Blue Morning Glory & Coastal Morning Glory. Weed Fact Sheet. http://www.strathfield.nsw.gov.au/system/files/f2/f36/f37/o464//WEED%20INFORMATION%20SHEET%20-%20Morning%20Glory.pdf. Environmental Services, Strathfield Council, New South Wales.

Anonymous (2007). NSW Department of Primary Industries. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange, New South Wales.

Auld, B.A. and Medd, R.W. (1996). Weeds: An Illustrated Botanical Guide to Weeds of Australia. Inkata Press, Sydney, New South Wales.

Barker, B., Barker, R., Jessop, J. and Vonow, H. (2005). Census of South Australian Vascular Plants. Fifth Edition. The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and State Herbarium, Government of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.

Barker, R.M. and Telford, I.R.H. (1993). Convolvulaceae. In: Flora of Australia, Volume 50, Oceanic Islands 2 (eds: A.S. George, A.E. Orchard and H.J. Hewson). Australian Government Printing Service (AGPS), Canberra, ACT.

Bostock, P.D. and Holland, A.E. (2007). Census of the Queensland Flora 2007. Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Brisbane, Queensland.

Ermert, S. (2001). Gardener's Companion to Weeds. 2nd Edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney, New South Wales.

Friend, E. (1983). Queensland Weed Seeds. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Green, P. (1994). Flora of Australia, Volume 49, Oceania Islands 1. Australian Biological Resources Study and CSIRO Publishing, Canberra, ACT.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds: a guide to the weeds of Western Australia. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park, Western Australia.

Johnson, R.W. (2007). Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet. PlantNET - New South Wales Flora Online. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au. The Plant Information Network System of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney Australia.

Keighery, G. and Longman, V. (2004). The naturalized vascular plants of Western Australia. 1: checklist, environmental weeds and distribution in IBRA regions. Plant Protection Quarterly 19: 12-32.

Kleinschmidt, H.E., Holland, A. and Simpson, P. (1996). Suburban Weeds. 3rd Edition. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Lazarides, M., Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO Handbook of Australian Weeds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria.

Muyt, A. (2001). Bush Invaders of South-East Australia. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Meredith, Victoria.

Navie, S.C. (2004). Declared Plants of Australia. CD-ROM. The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland.

Navie, S.C., Markwell, B., Playford, J. and Adkins, S.W. (2002). Suburban and Environmental Weeds: an interactive identification and information system. CD-ROM. The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland.

Paczkowska, G. (1996). *Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet. Coast morning glory. FloraBase: The Western Australian Flora. http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au. Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), Perth, Western Australia.

Stanley, T.E. and Ross, E.M. (1986). Flora of South-eastern Queensland. Volume 2. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.

Swarbrick, J.T. and Hart, R. (2001). Environmental weeds of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) and their management. Plant Protection Quarterly 16: 54-57.