Also Known As
Bayhops [1,2,4,5,7] 
Beach Morning Glory [4,5,7] 
Goat Foot Morning Glory [2] 
Goat’s Foot [2,5] 
Goat’s Foot Vine [6] 
Railroad Vine [2,6,7] 
Bayhops [1,2,4] 
Goat’s Foot [2] 
Cowslip [2]
Salsa-da-Praia [5C]
Boniato de Playa [“beach sweet potato”] [2] 
Batatilla [“little potato”] [2] 
Patate Bord de la Mer [“seaside potato”] [2] 
Liane Manger Cochon [“hog-food vine”] [2] 
Patate dan Mer [marron] [“wild beach potato”] [2]
Strandpatat ["beach potato"] [12]
Puhuehue [8] 
Pōhuehue [8]
INDIA, Hindi: दो
पत्ती लता Do Patti Lata [11]
INDIA, Marathi:
मर्यादा वेल Maryada-vel [11]
INDIA, Kannada:
Bangadivalli [11]
INDIA, Malayalam:
Atampuvalli [11]
INDIA, Tamil:
Attukkal [11]
INDIA, Telugu:
Balabantatige [11]
INDIA, Gujarati:
મર્યાદા વેલ Maryada-vel [11]
Bejuco de Mar [“sea vine”] [2] 
Pata de Cabra [“goat’s foot”] [2] 
Bejuco de la Tortuga [“turtle vine”] [2] 
Rininima [“little kidney”] [2] 
Bagasua [5]
Convovulus brasiliensis. [1] 
Ipomoea brasiliensis. [1] 

Order:   Solanes
Family:   Convolvulaceae
Genus:    Ipomoea
Species: pes-caprae
subsp.     brasiliensis

Florida n c s

Edible Parts
Animal Interaction
Bee Insect Butterfly Moth
Other Uses
Medicinal Cordage
This native flowering vine is found at many of our Florida beaches, above the high tide line. It grows rapidly, and the trailing vines may reach 100 feet long. The lavender-purple flowers are quite showy and appear all year long, yet each one lasts but a day. Although it has a long history as a famine food and for its medicinal uses in such places as the Caribbean, the Philippines, Australia, parts of Africa, Brazil, Guam, and Hawaii, I would not recommend ingestion due to certain "cathartic compounds." The leaves contain the potentially dangerous alkaloid ergotamine, which constricts the blood vessels and is used to treat migraines. That said, Daniel Austin, in his encyclopedic reference book Florida Ethnobotany, tells us something quite interesting, he states that "recent studies indicate that it contains compounds as effective as Benadryl." The list of external uses is long and includes being applied as a leaf poultice for sores, sprains, wounds, ulcers and various skin ailments. If you are stung by a jellyfish or sting ray, know that people have applied the fresh leaf sap to the affected area for many years. In Australia, aborigines have applied a leaf poultice to sting ray and stonefish stings. In Guam, the "scorched leaves" have been used to caulk canoes. In Belize, the vines are made into a dye. In Hawaii and west Africa, the stems were made into rope. It is a premier pioneer coastline stabilizer, and is planted often, which rapidly spreads and roots at the nodes to hold dunes in place. Bees are the main pollinators, along with butterflies and "moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and ants." Don't confuse this species with our similar-looking Bay Bean, Canavalea rosea, or the similarly-named Ipomoea imperati, which has white flowers and is also known as Beach Morning Glory. 

CAUTION: Although it has a long history of medicinal use, I would not recommend ingestion due to certain ccathartic ompounds, only topical use. Leaves contain the potentially dangerous alkaloid ergotamine. 
- Alterative [leaves] [13A]
- Analgesic [leaves] [3]
- Anodyne [leaves] [13A]
- Anodyne for rheumatism [13A]
- Anti-tumor [stem extract] [13A]
- Arthritic pain [2,7]
- Astringent [leaves] [13A]
- Bed sores [13A]
- Bladder diseases [13F]
- Boils [leaf poultice] [13A]
- Carbuncles  [leaf poultice] [13A]
- Chicken pox [13D]
- Colds [12]
- Colic [3,5A]
- Cramps [13F]
- Diuretic [7,13A]
- Dropsy [leaves[ [13A]
- Emolient [leaves ] [13A]
- Fatigue [7]
- Fish stings [13A]
- Flu [12]
- Gastrointestinal disorders [5]
- Gonorrhea [seeds[ [12]
- Inflammation [5]
- Internal upset [2]
- Jellyfish stings [6]
- Laxative [roots] [12.13A,13C]
- Oedema [5A]
- Parasitic infections [seeds] [12]
- Piles [5A]
- Piles [leaf poultice] [13A]
- Purgative [13A]
- Rheumatism [3,5A,7,13A]
- Skin ailments [leaf poultice] [13A]
- Sores [for bathing] [3]
- Sprained joints [leaf poultice] [13E]
- Stings from Sting Rays [5B]
- Strain [7]
- Stomach and intestinal complaints [roots] [12]
- Stomachache [13F]
- Swellings [leaf poultice] [13A]
- Syphilis [seeds] [12]
- Tonic [leaves] [13A]
- Ulcers [13A]
- Ulcers [leaf poultice] [13A]
- Whitlow [5A]
- Wounds [for bathing] [3]
CAUTION - DO NOT INGEST: "Carthartic compounds makes its use DANGEROUS! [8,8C,8G] Also, read the wildlife section. 
"Railroad vine is also used in some parts of the world to treat fatigue, strain, arthritis and rheumatism. Some cultures also use it as a diuretic (Devall 1992)." [7]
EDIBLE LEAVES - SEE CAUTION - DO NOT INGEST: The leaves are "cooked and eaten as a vegetable." [13A] Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania writes, "They are chopped and cooked alone, or combined with other vegetables such as Cleome gynandra, Galinsoga parviflora or Bidens pilosa, and eaten with a staple food such as rice." [13B] In Hawaii, "the leaves [and roots] are usually seen as a famine food because, in larger quantities, they have a laxative effect." [13C]
POTENTIALLY TOXIC FAMINE FOOD: "Roots and leaves were used by Hawaiians of old as famine foods [in ancient Hawaii], but carthartic compounds makes its use DANGEROUS!
Florida Ethnobotany writes, “ Used against arthritic pain and internal upset, also a purgative and diuretic, and to lower blood pressure [Roig, 1945], Vasquez and Jacome, 1997]. Elsewhere it has been used against “weakness in women,” for bathing sores and wounds, as a febrifuge and emollient, and to treat animal stings and bites [Duke, 1972, and Morton, 1981]. Recent studies indicate that it contains compounds as effective as Benadryl [Pongprayoon, 1991, Pongprayoon et al., 1991, 1992].” [2] "The juice from the succulent leaves has been used as a first aid to treat jellyfish stings." [6]
AFRICA: "The leaves are consumed as tea to treat colds and flu. The seeds are used to treat gonorrhoea, syphilis, and parasitic infections. An infusion of the roots is used as a laxative and also to treat stomach and intestinal complains." [12] "The leaves are aid to be alterative, anodyne, astringent, diuretic, emollient, laxative and tonic." [13A] The leaves "are used in the treatment of dropsy and urethral discharge." [13A] "The leaf is used to extirpate fungoid growth of ulcers." [13A] "A leaf-preparation is anodyne in the treatment of rheumatism." [13A] "Leaf-preparations are commonly applied externally to a range of skin ailments, including boils, carbuncles, swellings, ulcers and piles." [13A] "The leaf-sap is applied to fish-stings." [13A] "A hot poultice is applied to ulcerous and other sores." [13A] "The starchy root is diuretic and purgative. It is also said to contain a saponin." [13A] The leaves "are said to have a beneficial effect on bed-sores." [13A] "Strong anti-tumour action has been shown by extracts of the stems." [13A]
AUSTRALIA: An article "Top 10 Aborigonal Bush Medicines" states that "In Australia, it is a commonly used aboriginal medicine used as poultice for sting ray and stone fish stings." [5B]
BRAZIL: "In Brazil, this plant, namely the subspecies brasiliensis, is known as Salsa-da-Paria in folk medicine, and is used to treat inflammation and gastrointestinal disorders." [5]
GUAM: "The leaves can be boiled into a medicinal tea used in the treatment of chicken pox." [13D]
HAWAII: "Even with its dangers, a few of the young leaf buds (muʻo) were eaten by women just prior to giving birth to hasten delivery. [8C,8G,13C] DO NOT INGEST - ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT - SEE WARNING ABOVE. "The mashed leaves and stems are used as a poultice on sprained joints." [13E]
PHILIPPINES: It "is used to treat rheumatism, colic, oedema, whitlow, and piles." [5A]
SOUTHEAST ASIA: "The boiled root is used to bring relief in bladder-diseases." [13F] "The seed, when chewed, is said to be a good remedy for stomach-ache and cramp." [13F]
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS: "Material from Florida has been reported to contain mucilage, a complex resin, volatile oils, fats, a bitter pigment, etc." [13A]
STUDIES: It is "currently under evaluation" for its "analgesic effects of leaves to treat colic and rheumatism." [3]
CORDAGE: In early Hawaiian use "the vines were also made into a type of bushy rope attached to each of the sticks on the bag net used in fishing. [8A] Cordage was sometimes made from the pliable stems. [8H] In tropical west Africa, "The long stoloniferous stems are relatively strong. They are sometimes made into ropes." [13A] 
AS A DYE: “In Belize, the vines are used to make a dye [Balick et al. 2000].” [2]
CAULKING: In Guam, "the scorched leaves are used for caulking the seams of canoes." [13D]
BEACH STABILIZER: It is often planted as a primo stabilizer of dunes. [5] It is "one of the most important beach pioneer species." [9] It "is a primary sand stabilizer, being one of the first plants to colonize the dune. It grows on almost all parts of the dune but is usually found on the seaward slopes, sending long runners down towards the toe of the dune." [5] It is a pioneer plant. [6]
MINE RECLAMATION: "The plant is used to revegetate mine spoil." [13G]
LEI IN HAWAII: "The leafy vines were used as lei. [8E]
RITUAL USE: "The Carib Indians used railroad vine in ritual baths to alleviate evil spells." [6] 
WILDLIFE AND CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS: "Primary pollinating species include bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and ants (Devall, 1992)." [7] "Leaves and branches of railroad vine are protected from herbivores due to secondary metabolites. Branches have a milk-colored latex in the sap, while leaves produce a compound called indole alkaloid ergotamine (Jirawongse et al. 1977) that protects the plant from most insects and large grazing mammals such as horses and donkeys. Flowers, however, have no chemical defenses and are routinely eaten by caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers." [7} 

NATIVE TO: "It occurs along the beaches, coastal strands and tropical islands of tropical North and South America, east central Africa, west central Africa, India, Asia, and Australia. In North America." [7] To the Bahamas. [7] Along the coastline from "Georgia and Florida west to Texas." [4] In Florida, it is found in most coastal counties, lesser so in the Big Bend region. The floating seeds are dispersed throughout many warm water oceans of the world. [5] It is found on the tropical shores of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. [5]
HABITAT: "Beach dunes and coastal thickets." [9] The upper parts of beaches. [5] It grows "above the high tide line." [6]
DESCRIPTION: A perennial flowering vine.
- HEIGHT: 3-9" tall. [9]
- LENGTH: Stems run to 100' or more. [9]
- STEMS: Long, flexible, half an inch in diameter, branches often, rooting at the nodes. "Runners are succulent and have a milky colored sap." [7]
- LEAVES: Alternate, somewhat elliptical, 4" long, leathery. On 5.5-6" leaf petioles. They are "notched at the apex, creating two equal lobes," hence one of the common names, Goat's Foot. [6]
- FLOWERS: Very showy pink, reddish-purple to violet-purple, rarely all white, tubular, 2-3" diameter [9] "Rose-purple stripes radiate out from the throat." [9] Flowering but one day each, all year, but "peaking from May through November." [6] "Gulf of Mexico plants peak from July through September." [7] Darker in the inner center. "Flowers of railroad vine are short-lived: blooming at sunrise, closing by mid-afternoon, and dropping off the plant the following day." [7]
- SEEDS: "Four seeds per fruit are produced. Seeds are brown in color and measure approximately 6-10 mm in length (Devall 1992)." [7]
- ROOT: Steve Cristman, in Floridata, tells us that it has a "large, thick root that can be 10 ft (3.1 m) long and 2 in (5.1 cm) in diameter." [6] Woody. [5]
ETYMOLOGY: The “name Ipomoea is derived from the Greek ips, worm, and homoios, similar to, meaning worm-like, in reference to the twining habit. The hyphenated specific epithet pes-caprae is from the Latin pes, foot, and caprae, goat, or literally "foot of a goat," in reference to the shape of the leaves similar to that of a goat's foot (hoof). The subspecies brasiliensis is in reference to the country of Brazil (Brasil), part of its pantropic range.” [8]
SIMILAR SPECIES IN FLORIDA: Don't confuse this species with our similar-looking Bay Bean, Canavalia rosea. One of its common names, Beach Morning Glory, most often applies to the white-flowered I. imperti, another native vine found along our beaches.
- LIGHT: Full sun. Intolerant of shade. [8]
- SOIL: Well drained. Prefers sandy soil. "It grows in nutrient poor soils." [9] Does not like humus rich soils. [9]
- HARDINESS: "USDA Zones 8 - 11. Railroad vine may be marginal in Zone 8A." [6]
- DROUGHT TOLERANCE: "High; does not require any supplemental water once established." [9]
- SALT TOLERANCE: "Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water." [9]
- PROPAGATION: It "is easily started from cuttings." [6] "Seeds do not require a dormant period before sprouting. However, the seed coat is impermeable to water and must first be abraded by sand before the seeds will germinate." [7] "Around the Gulf of Mexico, germination occurs in all seasons except winter (Devall 1992)." [7]
- PRUNING: Being a very fast and rampant grower, you may very well need to clip it back often in your coastal landscape garden. " in diameter [9] 

More Details

Flowering Calendar

Flower Color

Fruiting Calendar

Fruit Color

Coastal Beach Dunes / Coastal Thickets

Plant Form
Herbaceous Evergreen Perennial Vine
6 inches
100 feet
Rate of Growth

Hardiness Zone
8b to 11b
Ease of growth
Very Easy
Full Sun
Poor Sandy
Salt Tolerant Drought Tolerant Wind Tolerant Flood Tolerant

When to Propagate

Sources for acquiring

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery, Sanibel, FL. 
And a good number of other native plant nurseries. 
Regional Conservation writes: "Widely cultivated. Available at Indian Trails Native Nursery in Lake Worth (561-641-9488)." 


[1] Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants 
[2] Florida Ethnobotany 
[3] Ethnobotany of Wildflowers ~ A Growing Part of Florida History by Claudia Larsen–Summer 
[4] wildflower.org 
[5] Wikipedia 
[5A] ["Goat's Foot Creeper". Retrieved 16 Feb 2016., via 5 
[5B] "Top 10 Aboriginal Bush Medicines," 2011, Australian Geographic 
[6] floridata.com [Info from Steve Christman, 2000] 
[7] Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce 
[8] Native Plants Hawaii 
[8A] "Plants in Hawaiian Culture" by Beatrice H. Krauss 
[8C] "Native Planters in Old Hawaii--Their Life, Lore, & Environment" by E. S. Handy and Elizabeth Green Handy 
[8E] "Nā Lei Makamae--The Treasured Lei" by Marie A. McDonald & Paul R. Weissich 
[8G] "In Gardens of Hawaii" by Marie C. Neal 
[8H] "Lāʻau Hawaiʻi: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants" by Isabella Aiona Abbott 
[9] – Regional Conservation 
[10] Long-Distance Dispersal by Sea-Drifted Seeds Has Maintained the Global Distribution of Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis, a Japanese article 
[11] flowersofindia.net 
[12] PlantzAfrica 
[13] Useful Tropical Plants 
[13A] The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa] 
[13B] Edible Wild Plants of Tanzania 
[13C] Native Plants Hawaii [same as 8] 
[13D] Plants of Guam 
[13E] Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online 
[13F] Plant Resources of Southeast Asia 
[13G] Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants 
Last Updated: October 28, 2017

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