A large, glabrous twiner. Stems terete, the adult parts woody, lenticellate.
Leaves orbicular in outline, 5- 20 by 5-20 cm, deeply palmately lobed to beyond the middle or to the base into 3-5 segments; middle segment mostly much larger than the lateral ones, ovate, elliptic or elliptic-oblong, mostly attenuate towards both ends, acuminate at the apex with acute or obtusish, mucronulate point; lateral segments ovate-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate; margins of segments slightly crisped, entire or coarsely dentate to crenate; petiole shorter than the blade, 2½- 13 cm.
Inflorescences axillary, 8-30 cm long, few- to several-flowered; peduncle 1½- 14 cm, widely cymosely branched. Pedicels as long as or longer than the sepals, 8- 15 mm.
Sepals subequal or the outer ones slightly shorter, elliptic or ovate-elliptic, obtuse, concave, 7-10 mm long, green at the base, for the rest red-purple or purplish black. Corolla red or red-purple, salver-shaped, the tube slightly angular, somewhat narrowed to the base, ca 4 cm long, ca 1 cm diam.; limb ca 4--4½ cm diam., 5-lobed with rounded lobes. Stamens and style exserted; filaments pale purple, densely villous at the base; style white, stigma dark purple, ovary glabrous.
Capsules rarely formed.
S.J. van Ooststroom
Ooststroom, S.J. van & R.D.Hoogland. 1953. Convolvulaceae in FloraMalesiana 4: 484.
Biogeography, Ecology and Natural History
Presumed to be a native of the West Indian Islands, cultivated throughoutthe tropics in gardens for ornamental purposes.
Ipomoea horsfalliae was described from plants cultivated in England and the precise wild origin is unknown, though it has been widely supposed to be somewhere in the West Indies, perhaps Jamaica. This species is cultivated world-wide in the tropics as a flowering climber. There is speculation that cultivated plants may be hybrids differing genetically from the wild populations. Certainly cultivated plants rarely produce capsules or seeds.
Germination and Propagation:
Cultivated plants rarely produce capsules with viable seeds, so propagation is typically from stem cuttings. Cuttings root with some effort and once established growth is rapid.
A beautiful tropical climber with spectacular masses of red-purple flowers and glossy dark green foliage. Kuhio vine thrives in full sunshine and requires adequate moisture to thrive.
It can be grown on a fence or trellis, allowed to clamber onto a house roof or grow up into a tree, among other uses. In Hawaii, Kuhio vine has been used very effectively as a colorful screening plant for fences in the central median of highways, where it grows without much care and provides a beautiful backdrop.
Pests and Diseases:
In Malesia, caterpillars of Euchromia horsfieldi Moore feed on the leaves of this species. In severe cases the infestation can defoliate the entire plant.
Austin, D.F. 2005. Convolvulaceae in Staples, G. & D. Herbst. 2005. A tropical garden flora. Bishop Museum Press.
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