Perennial climber, with large funnel-shaped blue flowers.
Scientific name: Ipomoea indica (Burm.) Merr.
Common names: blue morning glory, blue dawn flower
Status in Portugal: invasive species (listed in the annex I of Decreto-Lei n° 565/99, of 21 December)
Risk Assessment score: (in development)
Synonymy: Pharbitis cathartica (Poiret) Choisy, Ipomoea catartica Poir., Ipomoea congesta R. Br., Ipomoea indica (Burm. f.) Merr. var. acuminata (Vahl) Fosberg, Ipomoea mutabilis Lindl., Ipomoea learii Paxton, Ipomoea acuminata (Vahl) Roemer & Schultes, Convolvulus acuminatus Vahl
Last update: 08/07/2014
How to recognise it
Perennial climber up to 15 m.
Flowers: tapered, large, with 6-8,5 cm, very flashy, frequently blue, but sometimes white, pink or multi-coloured, generally becoming pink when they wither.
Fruits: capsules with 10-13 mm diameter, with 4-6 seeds inside.
Flowering: June to November.
Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth has some similarities, but it’s an annual herb and with entire leaves. Its flowers may be grossly mistaken by violet-flowered petunias (Petunia integrifolia (Hook) Schinz & Thell), but its plant type and leaves are much larger than the latter one’s.
Characteristics that aid invasion
It reproduces vegetatively through stem fragments that root easily. The stems sprout vigorously after being cut.
Sometimes, but not often, it reproduces by seed.
Native distribution area
Tropical area of South America, Asia and Hawaii.
Distribution in Portugal
Mainland Portugal (Douro Litoral, Beira Litoral, Estremadura, Ribatejo, Baixo Alentejo, Algarve), Azores archipelago (all islands), Madeira archipelago (island of Madeira).
Other places where the species is invasive
South Africa, North America (USA), Australia, New Zealand, some Pacific islands and other countries of the Mediterranean basin.
Preferential invasion environments
Disturbed habitats (hedges, quarries, abandoned constructions, etc.), slopes where it was planted and under trees or other vegetation. In natural habitats, the problem is mainly by the watercourses, where it threatens riparian vegetation.
Impacts on ecossystems
It forms impenetrable mats that smother trees, shrubs and grasses of other species, leading to their death and preventing the development of native vegetation.
Natura 2000 network habitats more subject to impacts
– Salix alba and Populus alba) galleries (92A0).
Controlling an invasive species demands a well-planned management, which includes the determination of the invaded area, identifying the causes of invasion, assessing the impacts, defining the intervention priorities, selecting the adequate control methodologies and their application. Afterwards it is fundamental to monitor the efficiency of the methodologies and recuperation of the intervened area as to perform, whenever necessary, the follow-up control.
The control methodologies used for Ipomoea indica include:
Hand pulling (preferencial methodology). In more compact substrates, hand pulling should be made during the rainy season to facilitate the removal of the root system. It should be guaranteed that no large fragments are left in the ground; these would root easily and originate new invasion foci. Every unpulled material should be removed from the location for later destruction.
Physical + chemical control
Cut stump method. cut the stems as close to the ground as possible and apply herbicide immediately afterwards (active substance: glyphosate) to the cut surface. Some authors have noticed that since the sprouts are more sensitive to the herbicide, this chemical should be applied to them when they reach 60 cm in height.
Foliar application of herbicide: applied in extensive areas that are invaded by the species. Spray with herbicide (active substance: glyphosate) limiting its application to the target species.
Visit the webpage How to Control for additional and more detailed information about the correct application of these methodologies.
Dana ED, Sanz-Elorza M, Vivas S, Sobrino E (2005) Especies vegetales invasoras en Andalucía. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla, 233pp.
Fagundes D, Az J, Beiras MB (2007) Plantas invasoras de Galicia. Bioloxía, distribución e métodos de control. Xunta de Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, 209pp.
Marchante E, Freitas H, Marchante H (2008) Guia prático para a identificação de plantas invasoras de Portugal Continental. Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, 183pp.
Silva L, Corvelo R, Moura M, Guerra AS, Fernandes FM (2008) Ipomoea indica (Burn. Fil.) Merr. In: Silva L, Land EO, Luengo JLR (eds) Flora e fauna terrestre invasora na Macaronésia. Top 100 nos Açores, Madeira e Canárias. Arena, Ponta Delgada, pp. 318-321.
USDA, NRCS. (2012) The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Available: http://plants.usda.gov [Retrieved 12/11/2012].
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)