Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

Railway creeper


This is a picture Whitney sent me a few months ago.

Thanks to Slice of the day, I can now identify this plant as Ipomoea cairica.

The Railway Creeper or Cairo morning glory (Ipomoea cairica) is a vine native to tropical Africa and Asia. This morning glory vine is beautiful, climbing on to whatever it finds – the purple flower studded vine wrapped around bending bamboo stems, is a pleasing sight. Its stem is hairless, readily set roots when in touch with the earth.

This species can be identified by its leaves which are hairless to 9cm long with 5-7 lobes, middle lobe the largest. Flowers purple, pink or whitish pink, to 8cm across, solitary or in groups of 2-3. Fruit a 4-valved capsule, about 1cm across, each valve with 1 seed. Seed with wispy hairs attached. Spread by wind, water and humans.

Since Whitney is currently in Australia, I guessed the plant was introduced by humans. The Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk website for the plant confirms my guess. And it’s invasive.


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  1. Hi, i need seeds of this for my house in noida, wherefrom to get these seeds, pl suggest.

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