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Ipomoea pes-caprae


Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R.Br.

Family Name: Convolvulaceae
Synonyms: Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis, Ipomoea biloba
Common Name: Beach Morning Glory, Railroad Vine, Sea Morning Glory, Tapak Kuda, Goat's Foot, Attukkal, 马鞍藤, 厚藤


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 Creeper
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular


Native Distribution Pantropical; Somaliland, Tropical Asia, Sumatra, Malaysia, and Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground), Shoreline (Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a latex-bearing, trailing creeper, with up to 30 m-long stems, and deep tap roots.
Foliage Its long-stalked leaves have thick, fleshy leaf blades that are variable in shape, about 2.5–10 cm long and wide, each with a notched tip.
Flowers Its stalked flowers are found 1–3 together from the leaf axils, and resemble those of the morning glory (Ipomoea cairica). Its flowers have pink, reddish-purple or violet petals that are joined into to a funnel-shaped structure.
Fruit Its 4-seeded fruits are round, about 1.3 cm-wide capsules. Its black seeds are densely covered with brown hair, and 6–10 mm long. The seeds can float and are dispersed by the ocean currents.
Habitat It grows on sandy shores, or adjacent to the granite walls of reclaimed sites, up to 600 m altitude. It occurs locally in the vicinity of Sungei Pang Sua, Changi Road, Pulau Ubin, and Pulau Tekong. It is commonly cultivated along sea walls, and reservoir embankments.
Cultivation It is propagated by seed or stem cuttings.
Etymology Greek ips, worm; Greek bomoios, similar to, meaning similar to a worm; Latin pes-caprae, foot of goat, referring to the shape of the species’ leaf blade that resembles the footprint of a goat.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable)
Medicinal: The juice squeezed from the plant is used in Malaysia to treat fish stings. The leaves are used in Indonesia to hasten the bursting of boils; sap from the young leaves are boiled in coconut oil and used to treat sores and ulcers; and the seeds, chewed with areca nut, sooth abdominal pains and cramps. In Philippines, the boiled leaves are used to treat rheumatism.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is cultivated along windswept beaches as its deep tap-roots have the ability to bind sand. It also has attractive foliage and flowers, so grown as an ornamental creeper in coastal and inland sites on the the granite revetments of seawalls, reservoirs and canals. It seems to fizzle out after fruiting, so must be rejuvenated with regular pruning.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Parks & Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline, Groundcover

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water, Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water, Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Trumpet-shaped

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 135
Species ID 1431
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: 19 April 2022.