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Argyreia nervosa


Argyreia nervosa (Burm. f.) Bojer

Family Name: Convolvulaceae
Synonyms: Aniseia nervosus, Aniseia nervosa, Aniseia speciosus, Aniseia speciosa
Common Name: Elephant Climber, Elephant Creeper, Wooly Morning Glory, Silver Morning Glory, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Sedang-dahon


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 9 m to 15 m


Native Distribution Assam, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A woody perennial vine with a maximum length of 9 – 15 m long. 
Foliage Leaves are cordate, measuring 15 – 25 cm long and 13 – 20 cm wide. Upper side of leaves is green and glabrous (smooth and hairless), while the lower side is silver and tomentose like young stems. 
Stems Younger stem is silvery and tomentose (densely covered by hairs). 
Flowers Flowers are pink or blue to purple, trumpet-shaped (5 cm wide) with darker purple in the centre. Flowers are located at the tips and are arranged in inflorescence known as cymes. 
Fruits Yellow-brown, dry round fruit (2 cm wide) classified as a capsule. Each fruit holds 4 - 6 seeds. 
Habitat Commonly found along the banks of streams and rivers in dry tropical climates. Occurs at altitudes up to 300 m. This species may become invasive and cover trees. 
Similar Similar to several Ipomoea species such as Ipomoea aquatica, Ipomoea batatas and Ipomoea mauritiana but can be distinguished by the following differences: Argyreia nervosa : climbing plant with large cordate leaves. The younger stems and the undersides of leaves are tomentose. Ipomoea aquatica : creeping aquatic plant which leaves can vary from cordate to lobed leaves. The younger stems and undersides of leaves are usually glabrous. Ipomoea batatas : creeping plant with cordate to deeply lobed leaves. The younger stems and undersides of leaves are usually glabrous. Ipomoea mauritiana : climbing plant with finger-like leaves. The younger stems and undersides of leaves are glabrous. 
Cultivation The vine is susceptible to root rot, so plant in soil with good drainage. Prefers acidic soils (pH = 5 - 6). Although mature plants prefer full sun, the seedlings grow best in partial shade. Easily becomes root-bound, so either plant in the ground or provide a very large pot, such as a 55-gallon drum. Grows quickly in Singapore under ideal conditions (3 - 5 cm per day). To promote abundant flowering, avoid pruning the tips. 
Etymology The genus Argyreia comes from the Latin word “argyraeus” which means silver-colored. It refers to the silver color of young stems and the underside of leaves. The species epithet nervosa refers to the hallucination induced by consuming the seeds. Alkaloids known as lysergic acid amides (LSA) are responsible for the hallucinations.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The leaves are said to be used for skin diseases and wounds.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Planted in subtropical or tropical gardens for its attractive, large flowers. Can provide shade when trained to grow over a trellis. Makes an attractive cover for long railings.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses General, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
Usage Hazard - Cons Invasive / Potentially Invasive
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Consuming the seeds causes hallucinations.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Diseases Root weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus)
Pest(s) Associated with
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Cordate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Cordate
Typical Foliar Area Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Remarks Silver

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Blue, Pink, Purple
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Trumpet-shaped
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flower Lifespan on Plant Several Days
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 18
Species ID 1314
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 30 May 2023.

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