Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ipomoea obscura (L.) Ker Gawl.

Slender Vine
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Ker Gawler, J.B. (1817) The Botanical Register 3 : t. 23.

Common name

Obscure Morning Glory


A slender vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.


Leaf blades about 2-7 x 2-8 cm, petioles about 1-6 cm long.


Inflorescence a simple cyme or reduced to 1 or 2 flowers. Flowers about 20-25 mm diam. Peduncle about 10-70 mm long. Pedicel about 15-20 mm long. Sepals triangular, about 4-5 mm long. Corolla white or pale yellow with a maroon centre, trumpet-shaped, about 10-20 mm long. Anther filaments clothed in white hairs towards the base. Ovary conical about 1 mm long. Style about 6-7 mm long. Stigma globose, bilobed. Disk cup-shaped, about 0.25 mm high, surrounding the base of the ovary.


Fruits about 10-13 x 8 mm, calyx lobes persistent at the base. Seeds usually 4 per fruit. Each seed pale brown, about 4.5-6 mm long densely clothed in short, erect hairs. Cotyledons folded, contorted and rolled. Radicle straight, about 3 mm long.


Cotyledons deeply bilobed or V-shaped, about 30-34 x 22-33 mm, +/- palmately veined. Midrib not extending to the apex. First leaves cordate, apex acuminate and mucronate, base cordate, petioles relatively long and clothed in hairs. Lower surface of the leaf blades clothed in short translucent hairs, upper surfaces sparsely clothed in hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: stems twining, apex acuminate, base cordate. Venation palmate. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Both the upper and lower leaf blade surfaces clothed in short translucent hairs. Seed germination time 16 to 34 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 150 m. Grows in disturbed areas in rain forest and along road edges. Also occurs in East Africa, Mascarene Islands, Asia, Malesia and Fiji.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Ipomoea obscura (L.) Ker Gawl. var. obscura, Jahrbuch der Hamburgischen Wissenschaftlichen Anstalten 15 : 44(1898). Convolvulus obscurus L., Species PLantarum ed. 2 : 220(1762).
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