Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet

Slender Vine
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Sweet, R. (1827) Hort. Brit. : 287.

Common name

Mile a Minute Vine; Vine, Mile a Minute; Five-leaf Morning Glory; Mile-A-Minute; Railway Creeper; Morning Glory, Five-leaf


Only attains the dimensions of a slender vine.


Compoud leaf digitate or pinnate with 5 leaflets. The lower pair of leaflets usually lobed.


Corolla trumpet-shaped, about 15-20 x 70-80 mm. Staminal filaments attached to the corolla tube about 5 mm from the base. Filaments clothed in hairs on the basal section.


Capsules about 9-12 x 10-11 mm, two-celled and four-valved. Seeds slightly flattened, about 6 x 6 mm, densely clothed in short brown hairs except for the long (6-8 mm) silky white plumes on the margins. Radicle about 4 mm long, curved. Cotyledons rolled and folded many times. Endosperm dry, permeating between the gaps and folds in the cotyledons.


Cotyledons deeply bilobed, about 34-36 x 23 mm. Petiole about 17 mm long, shallowly grooved on the upper surface. First pair of leaves palmatifid with 5 deeply lobed segments. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves deeply palmately 5-lobed, the lowermost pair of lobes much smaller than the other 3 lobes. Petioles about 2.5-3 cm long, deeply grooved on the upper surface. Stems twining. Seed germination time 12 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from Africa and Asia now naturalised in WA, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as Victoria and South Australia. Cultivated records from NT. Altitudinal range in northern Australia not known but has been collected just above sea level. naturalised in many places throughout Malesia.

Convolvulus cairicus L., Syst. Ed.10: 922(1759), Type: Not designated ( Probably from Egypt). Ipomoea palmata Forssk., Flora aegyptiaco-arabica : 43(1775), Type: Egypt, P. Forsskal; Holo: C?. Ipomoea pendula R. Br., Prodr. : 486(1810), Type: Australia, Port Jackson & Tasmania, R. Brown: Syn: BM.
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