Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Ipomoea alba
(white moonflower )

Rojas-Sandoval J, 2016. Ipomoea alba (white moonflower). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.119823.20203483466

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Datasheet

Ipomoea alba (white moonflower )

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 01 July 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ipomoea alba
  • Preferred Common Name
  • white moonflower
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Ipomoea alba is a fast-growing vine native to the Americas, which has been widely introduced across tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it has become naturalized and invasive. Once naturalized, this species behaves as an e...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); flowers. Alhambra gardens, Granada, Spain. August 2012.
TitleFlower
CaptionIpomoea alba (evening glory); flowers. Alhambra gardens, Granada, Spain. August 2012.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by Jebulon/via wikipedia - CC0 1.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); flowers. Alhambra gardens, Granada, Spain. August 2012.
FlowerIpomoea alba (evening glory); flowers. Alhambra gardens, Granada, Spain. August 2012.Public Domain - Released by Jebulon/via wikipedia - CC0 1.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); scrambling habit. Little-Big Econ State Forest, Seminole County, Florida, USA. October 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionIpomoea alba (evening glory); scrambling habit. Little-Big Econ State Forest, Seminole County, Florida, USA. October 2016.
Copyright©Katja Schulz/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); scrambling habit. Little-Big Econ State Forest, Seminole County, Florida, USA. October 2016.
HabitIpomoea alba (evening glory); scrambling habit. Little-Big Econ State Forest, Seminole County, Florida, USA. October 2016.©Katja Schulz/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); habit. University of Georgia Trial Gardens, USA. September 2018.
TitleHabit
CaptionIpomoea alba (evening glory); habit. University of Georgia Trial Gardens, USA. September 2018.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by Don McCulley/via wikipedia - CC0 1.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); habit. University of Georgia Trial Gardens, USA. September 2018.
HabitIpomoea alba (evening glory); habit. University of Georgia Trial Gardens, USA. September 2018.Public Domain - Released by Don McCulley/via wikipedia - CC0 1.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); leaves. Honolua Lipoa Point, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2018.
TitleLeaves
CaptionIpomoea alba (evening glory); leaves. Honolua Lipoa Point, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2018.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); leaves. Honolua Lipoa Point, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2018.
LeavesIpomoea alba (evening glory); leaves. Honolua Lipoa Point, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2018.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); smothering habit. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionIpomoea alba (evening glory); smothering habit. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); smothering habit. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
HabitIpomoea alba (evening glory); smothering habit. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); seeds. Note scale.
TitleSeeds
CaptionIpomoea alba (evening glory); seeds. Note scale.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/Original image by Steve Hurst
Ipomoea alba (evening glory); seeds. Note scale.
SeedsIpomoea alba (evening glory); seeds. Note scale.Public Domain - Released by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/Original image by Steve Hurst

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ipomoea alba L.

Preferred Common Name

  • white moonflower

Other Scientific Names

  • Calonyction aculeatum (L.) House
  • Calonyction aculeatum var. lobatum (Hallier f.) C.Y. Wu
  • Calonyction album (L.) House
  • Calonyction bona-nox (L.) Bojer
  • Calonyction pulcherrimum Parodi
  • Calonyction speciosum Choisy
  • Convolvulus aculeatus L.
  • Convolvulus bona-nox (L.) Spreng.
  • Convolvulus pulcherrimus Vell.
  • Ipomoea bona-nox L.

International Common Names

  • English: evening glory; giant moonflower; moonflower vine; tropical white morning glory; white morning glory
  • Spanish: bejuco de tabaco; camotillo; flor de luna; oracion
  • Chinese: yue guang hua
  • Portuguese: batata-brava

Local Common Names

  • Bahamas: moon vine
  • Brazil: batatarana; boa-noite; bona-nox; cipó-café; dama-da-noite; flor-da-noite
  • Costa Rica: buenas noches; dama de noche ; flor de la luna
  • Cuba: bejuco de la y; flor de la y; flor de la y blanca
  • Dominican Republic: estrella vespertina
  • El Salvador: campanilla blanca; flor de luna; pitoreta
  • Guatemala: hapolin ; luna blanca
  • Honduras: pañal de niño; tripa de gallina
  • India: alanga; alangai
  • Jamaica: iight ipomoea ; moonflower
  • Lesser Antilles: belle de nuit; fleur de nuit; liane blanche bord de mer
  • Mexico: nicua; oracion
  • Puerto Rico: bejuco de vaca; claro de luna; gloria de la mañana blanca

Summary of Invasiveness

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Ipomoea alba is a fast-growing vine native to the Americas, which has been widely introduced across tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it has become naturalized and invasive. Once naturalized, this species behaves as an environmental weed with the potential to outcompete native plant species for nutrients, water and sunlight. It climbs using other plants for support and forms a dense canopy that shades out native vegetation. It also spreads over the ground, forming a dense mat of vegetation that inhibits the establishment and growth of other plant species. Currently this species is included in the Global Compendium of Weeds and it is listed as invasive in China, South Africa, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and other islands in the Pacific region.  

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Solanales
  •                         Family: Convolvulaceae
  •                             Genus: Ipomoea
  •                                 Species: Ipomoea alba

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Ipomoea is a large and complex genus of vines and shrubs within the Convolvulaceae. This family comprises 55-60 genera containing approximately 700 species, nearly cosmopolitan in distribution, but primarily tropical plants (Stefanovic et al., 2003). The genus Ipomoea includes more than 600 species distributed worldwide with approximately 500 species occurring in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas (Miller et al., 1999).

Description

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The following description is adapted from Flora of China Editorial Committee (2016):

Herbs annual or perennial, twining, usually glabrous, rarely puberulent. Stems to 10 m, terete, smooth or with soft prickles, sap milky. Petiole 5-20 cm; leaf blade ovate to ± circular in outline, 10-20 x 5-16 cm, base cordate, margin entire, angular to 3-lobed, apex acuminate, mucronulate. Inflorescences helicoid cymes, rarely dichasial, 1- to several flowered; peduncle stout, terete, 1-24 cm; bracts early deciduous, small. Pedicel 7-15 cm, clavate distally, enlarged in fruit. Flowers nocturnal, fragrant. Sepals elliptic to ovate, ± leathery, glabrous; outer 3 sepals 5-12 mm, apex with a stout spreading awn 4-9 mm; inner 2 sepals 7-15 mm, mucronate. Corolla white, with greenish bands, salverform; tube 7-12 cm, ca. 5 mm in diameter; limb 7-12 cm in diameter, shallowly 5-undulate. Stamens exserted; filaments inserted in apical 1/2 of corolla tube, glabrous; anthers sagittate basally. Pistil exserted; ovary narrowly conical, glabrous. Stigma 2-lobed. Capsule ovoid, 2.5-3 cm, apiculate. Seeds white, brown, or black, 7-8 mm, glabrous.

Plant Type

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Annual
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated
Vine / climber

Distribution

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Ipomoea alba is native to North and South America, including the Caribbean (USDA-NRCS, 2016; Staples, 2017). It has been widely commercialized as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical regions of the world (USDA-ARS, 2016). Currently, I. alba can be found in cultivation and naturalized in Asia, Africa, Australia and on many islands in the Pacific region (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016; PIER, 2016; PROTA, 2016; Staples, 2017).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 01 Jul 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroduced
CameroonPresentIntroduced
Central African RepublicPresentIntroduced
ComorosPresentIntroduced
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroduced
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroduced
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroduced
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced
GabonPresentIntroduced
GhanaPresentIntroduced
GuineaPresentIntroduced
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroduced
KenyaPresentIntroducedInvasive
MadagascarPresentIntroduced
MauritiusPresentIntroduced
MozambiquePresentIntroduced
RéunionPresentIntroduced
Saint HelenaPresentIntroduced
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced
South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasive
SudanPresentIntroduced
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced
TogoPresentIntroduced
UgandaPresentIntroduced
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroduced
ChinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-HainanPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-JiangsuPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-JiangxiPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-ShaanxiPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-SichuanPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-YunnanPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-ZhejiangPresentIntroducedNaturalized
India
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroduced
-AssamPresentIntroduced
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-KeralaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-UttarakhandPresentIntroducedNaturalized
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-JavaPresentIntroduced
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresentIntroduced
-SulawesiPresentIntroduced
-SumatraPresentIntroduced
JapanPresentIntroduced
-Ryukyu IslandsPresentIntroducedNaturalized
LaosPresentIntroduced
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
MyanmarPresentIntroducedNaturalized
NepalPresentIntroduced
North KoreaPresentIntroduced
PakistanPresentIntroduced
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedNaturalized
South KoreaPresentIntroduced
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
ThailandPresentIntroducedNaturalized
VietnamPresentIntroduced

North America

BahamasPresentNative
BelizePresentNative
BermudaPresentIntroduced
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeTortola
Costa RicaPresentNative
CubaPresentDifferent sources report as either native or as introduced and invasive
DominicaPresentNative
Dominican RepublicPresentNative
El SalvadorPresentNative
GuadeloupePresentNative
GuatemalaPresentNative
HaitiPresentNative
HondurasPresentNative
MartiniquePresentNative
MexicoPresentNative
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativeSt Barthelemy
NicaraguaPresentNative
PanamaPresentNative
Puerto RicoPresentNative
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNative
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNative
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentNative
United StatesPresent
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedInvasiveListed as noxious weed
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedInvasiveListed as noxious weed
-ColoradoPresent
-FloridaPresentNative
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-KansasPresentNative
-LouisianaPresentNative
-TexasPresentNative

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Australia
-Lord Howe IslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedInvasive
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedCultivated and naturalized
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-PohnpeiPresentIntroducedInvasive
FijiPresentIntroduced
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInvasiveMarquesas, Society, Tubuai Islands
GuamPresentIntroducedInvasive
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced
SamoaPresentIntroduced
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced
TongaPresentIntroducedInvasive

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeBuenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, C?rdoba, Corrientes, Distrito Federal, Entre R?os, Formosa, Jujuy, La Pampa, Misiones, Salta, Santa Fe, Tucum?n
BoliviaPresent
BrazilPresentNative
-AcrePresentNative
-AlagoasPresentNative
-AmapaPresentNative
-AmazonasPresentNative
-BahiaPresentNative
-CearaPresentNative
-Distrito FederalPresentNative
-Espirito SantoPresentNative
-GoiasPresentNative
-MaranhaoPresentNative
-Mato GrossoPresentNative
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNative
-Minas GeraisPresentNative
-ParaPresentNative
-ParaibaPresentNative
-ParanaPresentNative
-PernambucoPresentNative
-PiauiPresentNative
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNative
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNative
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative
-RondoniaPresentNative
-RoraimaPresentNative
-Santa CatarinaPresentNative
-Sao PauloPresentNative
-SergipePresentNative
-TocantinsPresentNative
ColombiaPresentNative
EcuadorPresentNative
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
French GuianaPresentNative
GuyanaPresentNative
ParaguayPresentNativeCentral, Cordillera, Paraguar?
PeruPresentNative
SurinamePresentNative
UruguayPresentNative
VenezuelaPresentNativeBolivar and Delta Amacuro

History of Introduction and Spread

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Ipomoea alba was first recorded by Europeans in the 1520s. In 1526, Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo wrote about this species and reported that in Hispaniola the natives called this vine ‘y’, which is the Taíno name for this species (Oviedo, 1526). According to Austin (2013), when Europeans arrived in the New World, they learned the medicinal uses of I. alba and soon took its seeds back to the Old World. This species was first recorded in the Old World being grown in a botanical garden in Leiden in about 1606. Later, I. alba was reported from India in 1660 (Austin, 2013). For over 300 years, this species has been transported around the world to be used as ornamental and as a medicinal herb. In Australia, I. alba was first recorded as naturalized in Queensland in 1985, but has become increasingly common and widespread in south-eastern Queensland and New South Wales (Queensland Government, 2016). In South Africa, it was reported as naturalized within the Kruger National Park in 2003 (Foxcroft et al., 2003).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of I. alba is high. This species is still widely cultivated as ornamental around the world. It can also grow as environmental weed and has the potential to escape from cultivation (Oviedo et al., 2012; USDA-ARS, 2016). Seeds and plant fragments can be dispersed by water, wind and humans and as contaminant in seed crops, soil and machinery (PIER, 2016; Queensland Government, 2016).

Habitat

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Within its native distribution (south-eastern USA, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean), I. alba can be found growing in moist forest, rainforests, wet forests, along roads and in pastures, at elevations from sea level to 1500 m (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). In China, it can be found cultivated and naturalized in wet forests, watercourses and disturbed areas (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). In sub-tropical and tropical regions of Australia, this species has escaped from cultivation and is invading watercourses, riparian areas, moist forests, coastal areas, urban bushland and disturbed areas (e.g. in parks and along roadsides and railway lines) (Queensland Government, 2016). In Hawaii, it can be found naturalized in moist areas at elevations from sea level to about 600 m (Wagner et al., 1999). In Fiji, it can be found from near sea level to about 750 m, in dense forest and thickets (Smith, 1991).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
LittoralCoastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
LittoralCoastal areas Present, no further details Natural
LittoralCoastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number for I. alba has been reported as 2n = 28, 2n = 30 or 2n = 38 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016).

Reproductive Biology

Ipomoea alba has bisexual and actinomorphic flowers. Flowers are solitary or in axillary simple or dichasial cymes. This species is self-compatible with white flowers that open at night and are pollinated by moths (Rosas-Guerrero et al., 2011). In Panama, flowers are commonly visited by the moth species Manduca sexta (Correa et al., 2004).

Many Ipomoea species have been extensively studied to understand the genetic bases of flower colour differences. Most flower colours are the result of anthocyanin pigments or other flavonoid compounds in the floral tissue. Studies of Ipomoea flower colour variation have shown that colour can influence pollinator behaviour and preferences and thus color changes can affect plant reproductive success and fitness (Clegg and Durbin, 2003; Rausher, 2008; Gonzales et al., 2012).

Physiology and Phenology

In Central America, I. alba usually flowers throughout the year with an apparent peak from November to January (Correa et al., 2004). In the Caribbean it has been recorded flowering and fruiting sporadically throughout the year (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005).

Longevity

Ipomoea alba is a fast-growing annual or perennial vine (Queensland Government, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

Ipomoea alba prefers to grow in moist habitats on sandy and loamy well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 6.1 to 7.8 (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005 ;Queensland Government, 2016).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall7002500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Bimodal
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Albugo candida Pathogen not specific
Coleosporium ipomoeae Pathogen
Macrophomina phaseolina Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The following pests have been detected in I. alba when growing in cultivation: white blister (Albugo candida), leaf rust (Coleosporium ipomoeae) and charcoal rot (Macrophomina phaseolina).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal (non-biotic)

Ipomoea alba spreads by seed and vegetatively via adventitious roots from stems and stem fragments.

Accidental introduction

Seeds and pieces of stems may be dispersed in dumped garden waste and are probably also commonly spread by water movement, wind and as contaminant in seed crops, soil and machinery (PIER, 2016; Queensland Government, 2016).

Intentional introduction

Ipomoea alba has been widely commercialized as an ornamental plant has been intentionally introduced by humans for this purpose in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world (USDA-ARS, 2016).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
DisturbanceCommon in parks, along roadsides, and along railway lines Yes Yes Queensland Government (2016)
Escape from confinement or garden escapeHas escaped after being planted as ornamental Yes Queensland Government (2016)
HorticultureWidely cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2016)
Internet salesSold online Yes Yes Dave's Garden (2016)
Ornamental purposesWidely cultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS (2016)

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds and plant fragments Yes Yes Queensland Government (2016)
WaterSeeds and pieces of stems may be dispersed by water Yes Yes Queensland Government (2016)

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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Ipomoea alba is an environmental weed affecting, among others, coastal forests, moist forest and rainforests in tropical and subtropical regions. In South Africa, it is invading critical areas within the Kruger National Park (Foxcroft et al., 2003). In Australia, this species is invading bushland, riparian zones and watercourses and can be a serious environmental weed in rainforests where it is displacing native plants. In New South Wales it is also listed among the "exotic vines and scramblers" whose invasion of native vegetation is regarded as a "key threatening process" (Queensland Government, 2016).

Once naturalized, this species has the potential to outcompete native plant species for nutrients, water and sunlight. It climbs using other plants for support and forms a dense canopy that shades out native vegetation. It also spreads over the ground forming a dense mat that inhibits the establishment and growth of other plant species (Wagner et al., 1999; Oviedo et al., 2012; PIER, 2016; Queensland Government, 2016).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Host damage
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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Ipomoea alba has been widely commercialized as an ornamental plant for its showy white flowers (USDA-ARS, 2016). In China, the whole plant is used in treating snakebite (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). In the Caribbean and South America, this species is used as a laxative, fever reducer, as a soap substitute and as food for pigs (Austin, 2013).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Amenity

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant
  • Propagation material

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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There are several closely related species with very similar foliage to I. alba, including other species also commercialized as ornamentals such as: Ipomoea obscura, Ipomoea purpurea, and Ipomoea indica (Queensland Government, 2016). These species can be distinguished by the following traits:

  • I. obscura is the most similar, but its white flowers are much smaller than those of I. alba and have a much shorter floral tube (only 14-25 mm long).
  • I. indica and I. purpurea are similar when not in flower. Their leaves are often heart-shaped, like I. alba, but they are sometimes deeply three-lobed. These species also have smaller flowers with shorter floral tubes (only 5-8 cm long) that are often pink or purplish in colour.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Physical/Mechanical Control

Seedlings are frail and easy to pull or hoe. Small infestations can be cut near the base of the plant and the roots dug out by hand. For larger infestations with many stems, cutting and subsequent applications of herbicides are required (Defelice, 2001).

Chemical Control

The herbicides 2,4-D, atrazine, diquat, diuron, glyphosate, oxyfluorfen, pronamide and simazine are recommended for annual morning glory species. For large infestations, the stems can be cut higher up (breast height) causing the upper growth to die. Then the basal stems can be cut closer to the ground, followed by an undiluted (or up to 1: 3 dilution) dose of a herbicide onto the stems (Halvorson, 2003).

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., 2005. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 51, 483 pp.

Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Austin, D. F., 2013. Moon-flower (Ipomoea alba, Convolvulaceae) - medicine, rubber enabler, and ornamental: a review. Economic Botany, 67(3), 244-262. doi: 10.1007/s12231-013-9240-9

Broome, R., Sabir, K., Carrington, S., 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. In: Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database , Barbados: University of the West Indies.http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. In: Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos Galapagos, Ecuador: Charles Darwin Foundation.unpaginated.

Clegg MT, Durbin ML, 2003. Tracing floral adaptations from ecology to molecules. Nature Reviews Genetics, 4, 206-215.

Correa, A., Galdames, M. D. C., Stapf, M. N. S., 2004. Catalogo de Plantas Vasculares de Panama, Panama: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.599 pp.

Dave's Garden, 2016. Dave's Garden. In: Dave's Garden El Segundo, California, USA: Internet Brands.http://davesgarden.com

Defelice, M. S., 2001. Tall morningglory, Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth - flower or foe?. Weed Technology, 15(3), 601-606. doi: 10.1614/0890-037X(2001)015[0601:TMIPLR]2.0.CO;2

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016. Flora of China. In: Flora of China St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Foxcroft, L. C., Henderson, L., Nichols, G. R., Martin, B. W., 2003. A revised list of alien plants for the Kruger National Park. Koedoe, 46(2), 21-44.

Funk, V., Hollowell, T., Berry, P., Kelloff, C., Alexander, S. N., 2007. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 55, 584 pp.

Gonzales, A. M., Fang, Z., Durbin, M. L., Meyer, K. K. T., Clegg, M. T., Morrell, P. L., 2012. Nucleotide sequence diversity of floral pigment genes in Mexican populations of Ipomoea purpurea (morning glory) accord with a neutral model of evolution. Journal of Heredity, 103(6), 863-872. doi: 10.1093/jhered/ess059

Halvorson WL, 2003. Factsheet for: Ipomoea purpurea. In: USGS Weeds in the West Project: Status of Introduced Plants in Southern Arizona Parks . Tucson, Arizona, USA: USGS.http://sdrsnet.srnr.arizona.edu/data/sdrs/ww/docs/ipom_spp.pdf

Herrera, K., Lorence, D. H., Flynn, T., Balick, M. J., 2010. Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia with Local Names and Uses. Allertonia, 10, 1-192. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23193787

Miller, R. E., Rausher, M. D., Manos, P. S., 1999. Phylogenetic systematics of Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) based on ITS and Waxy sequences. Systematic Botany, 24(2), 209-227. doi: 10.2307/2419549

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016. Tropicos database. In: Tropicos database St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.http://www.tropicos.org/

Oviedo GF de, 1526. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press.

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96

Oviedo Prieto, R., Herrera Oliver, P., Caluff, M. G., et al., 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PIER, 2016. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii.http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

PROTA, 2016. PROTA4U web database. In: PROTA4U web database Wageningen and Nairobi, Netherlands\Kenya: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.https://www.prota4u.org/database/

Queensland Government, 2016. Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland Edition. In: Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland Edition , Australia: Queensland Government.http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/search.html

Randall, R. P., 2012. A global compendium of weeds, (Ed.2) [ed. by Randall, R. P. ]. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia.1124 pp. http://www.agric.wa.gov.au

Rausher, M. D., 2008. Evolutionary transitions in floral color. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 169(1), 7-21. doi: 10.1086/523358

Rosas-Guerrero, V., Quesada, M., Armbruster, W. S., Pérez-Barrales, R., Smith, S. D., 2011. Influence of pollination specialization and breeding system on floral integration and phenotypic variation in Ipomoea. Evolution : International Journal of Organic Evolution, 65(2), 350-364. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01140.x

Smith, A. C., 1991. Flora vitiensis nova. A new flora of Fiji, Vol. 5, Lawaii, Hawaii, USA: Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden.626 pp. doi:https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.44033

Staples, G, 2017. World Checklist of Convolvulaceae. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://wcsp.science.kew.org

Stefanovic S, Austin DF, Olmstead RG, 2003. Classification of Convolvulaceae: a phylogenetic approach. Systematic Botany, 28, 791-806.

USDA-ARS, 2016. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2016. The PLANTS Database. In: The PLANTS Database Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team.https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Wagner, W. L., Herbst, D. R., Sohmer, S. H., 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2, (Edn 2) . Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press.xviii + 1919 pp.

Webb, C. J., Sykes, W. R., Garnock-Jones, P. J., 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons, Christchurch, New Zealand: Botany Division, DSIR.1365 pp. http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%204.xml

Weber, E., Sun ShiGuo, Li Bo, 2008. Invasive alien plants in China: diversity and ecological insights. Biological Invasions, 10(8), 1411-1429. doi: 10.1007/s10530-008-9216-3

Witt, A., Luke, Q., 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa, [ed. by Witt, A., Luke, Q.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI.vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 doi:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Zuloaga, F. O., Morrone, O., Belgrano, M. J., 2008. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur (Argentina, Sur de Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay). Volumen 1: Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae y Monocotyledoneae, [ed. by Zuloaga, F. O., Morrone, O., Belgrano, M. J.]. St. Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press.xcvi + 983 pp.

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. In: Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

CABI, 2020. CABI Distribution Database: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. In: Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos, Galapagos, Ecuador: Charles Darwin Foundation. unpaginated.

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016. Flora of China. In: Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Foxcroft L C, Henderson L, Nichols G R, Martin B W, 2003. A revised list of alien plants for the Kruger National Park. Koedoe. 46 (2), 21-44.

Funk V, Hollowell T, Berry P, Kelloff C, Alexander S N, 2007. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. 55, 584 pp.

Herrera K, Lorence D H, Flynn T, Balick M J, 2010. Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia with Local Names and Uses. Allertonia. 1-192. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23193787

India Biodiversity Portal, 2016. Online Portal of India Biodiversity. In: Online Portal of India Biodiversity. http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

Lorence DH, Wagner WL, 2013. Flora of the Marquesas Islands., National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/marquesasflora/

McCormack G, 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2., Rarotonga, Cook Islands: Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. http://cookislands.bishopmuseum.org/search.asp

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PIER, 2016. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

PROTA, 2016. PROTA4U web database. In: PROTA4U web database. Wageningen and Nairobi, Netherlands\Kenya: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. https://www.prota4u.org/database/

Queensland Government, 2016. Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland Edition. In: Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland Edition. Australia: Queensland Government. http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/search.html

Simão-Bianchini R, Ferreira PPA, 2015. Ipomoea alba. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB7022

Space JC, Flynn T, 2000. Observations on invasive plant species in American Samoa., Honolulu, USDA Forest Service. 51.

Staples G, 2017. World Checklist of Convolvulaceae. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew., http://wcsp.science.kew.org

USDA-ARS, 2016. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

Wagner W L, Herbst D R, Sohmer S H, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2. Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press. xviii + 1919 pp.

Webb C J, Sykes W R, Garnock-Jones P J, 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Christchurch, New Zealand: Botany Division, DSIR. 1365 pp. http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%204.xml

Weber E, Sun ShiGuo, Li Bo, 2008. Invasive alien plants in China: diversity and ecological insights. Biological Invasions. 10 (8), 1411-1429. http://www.springerlink.com/content/c25570xj6u44645h/?p=3d093fec46ab4097b45b287d6033e986&pi=21 DOI:10.1007/s10530-008-9216-3

Witt A, Luke Q, 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa. [ed. by Witt A, Luke Q]. Wallingford, UK: CABI. vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 DOI:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Zuloaga F O, Morrone O, Belgrano M J, 2008. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur: (Argentina, Sur de Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 3348 pp.

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Convolvulaceae Unlimitedhttp://convolvulaceae.myspecies.info//
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Ipomoea alba in Invasive Species South Africa http://www.invasives.org.za/legislation/item/258-white-moonflower-ipomoea-alba
Ipomoea alba in the Kew World Checklist of Plant Families http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/namedetail.do;jsessionid=DE7793DD08B48EDFA84299166E97580C?name_id=480621

Contributors

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16/08/16 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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