Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ipomoea quamoclit L.

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

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 159. Type: Habitat in India.

Common name

Indian-pink; Cypress Vine; Cupid's Flower; Star of Bethlehem; Vine, Cypress


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


Leaf structure can be interpreted in two ways: 1. Leaves compound with 16-24 leaflets, basal pair of leaflets bilobed. Leaflet stalks absent. 2. Leaves simple and deeply lobed (pinnatisect) almost to the midrib, each leaf about 2.5-4.5 x 2.5-4 cm, petioles about 1-4 cm long. Lobes 8-15 per leaf. Very small finely divided leaves usually on the twig at the base of each petiole.


Flowers about 1.7-3.5 cm diam. Peduncles about 4-8 cm long. Pedicels about 1.4-2 cm long. Sepals about 5-6 mm long, each sepal ending in a mucronate tip which is attached below the apex of the sepal. Inner surface clothed in small flat glands. Corolla tube about 2.5-3.5 cm long. Corolla lobes about 6-8 mm long, mucronate at the apex. Staminal filaments clothed in hairs towards the base. Pollen grains spinulose. Style about 25-30 mm long. Stigma about 1 mm diam., verrucose, obscurely 2-lobed.


Fruits ovoid, 5-7 x 5 mm, sepals persistent at the base. Seeds usually 3 or 4 per fruit. Seeds elongate, about 5-6 x 2-3 mm, surface clothed in hairs and warty projections particularly around the hilum. Cotyledons folded with endosperm between the folds. Radicle straight, about 2 mm long.


Cotyledons bi-lobed, shaped like a boomerang, each lobe about 30-35 x 2-3 mm, each lobe with two longitudinal veins. Petioles about 10-14 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves very dissected and lobed or compound depending on how the structures are interpreted. Basal pair of 'leaflets' on each compound leaf are bifid at the apex. Seed germination time 17 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from India now naturalised in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Grows as a weed on agricultural land but also found in monsoon forest.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Quamoclit vulgaris Choisy, Mem. Soc. Phys. Geneve 6: 434(1833). Convolvulus pennatus Desr. in Lamk., Enc. Meth. 3: 567(1791). Quamoclit pinnata Bojer, Hort. Maurit. : 224(1837), Type: Mauritius.
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