Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ipomoea triloba L.

Slender Vine
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Flower. © Barry Jago
Leaf, infructescence and fruits. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 161. Type: Habitat in America.

Common name



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


Leaf blades thin, usually with two conspicuous basal lobes, leaf blades about 2-6 x 2-4.5 cm (middle lobe sometimes only 0.4-0.8 cm wide) petioles about 1-5 cm long. Underside of the leaf blade clothed in minute hairs. Lateral veins about 4-6 on each side of the midrib. Petioles produce a small amount of milky exudate.


Sepals about 7 mm long, sparsely clothed in pale-coloured hairs. Corolla about 15 mm long. Pollen grains minutely spinulose.


Fruits about 7-9 mm long, perianth lobes persistent at the base. Seeds glabrous, about 4 mm long. Cotyledons contorted, folded and rolled in a complex fashion. Radicle about 3 mm long.


Cotyledons deeply lobed at the apex and cordate at the base, about 13-30 x 16-35 mm, petioles about 5-18 mm long. First pair of true leaves cordate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade cordate, upper and lower surface glabrous. Petioles produce a small amount of milky exudate when cut or broken. Seed germination time 6 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from tropical America, now a pantropic weed. naturalised in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 250 m. Usually grows in riparian situations in open forest areas but also found along roads in rain forest.

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