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Genus Ipomoea Family Convolvulaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs or shrubs usually with trailing or twining stems, rarely erect.

Leaves simple [or rarely compound], margins entire to deeply lobed, glabrous or with simple hairs, occasionally with pseudo-stipules.

Inflorescence axillary, 1–many-flowered cymes, bracteolate. Sepals 5, free, usually unequal and overlapping. Corolla funnel-shaped, campanulate or rarely trumpet-shaped, entire or slightly 5-lobed with distinct glabrous or hairy mid-petaline bands. Stamens 5, usually ± unequal, hairy above the point of attachment. Ovary 2–4-locular with 2 ovules per loculus, glabrous [or rarely pilose]; style 1, stigma capitate or biglobose.

Capsule globose or ovoid, usually splitting longitudinally into 4–6 valves, rarely indehiscent.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 500 species, tropical to warm-temp. regions. Australia: c. 50 species (20 species endemic, 12 species naturalized), all States.

I. batatas (L.) Lam., the Sweet Potato, is cultivated for its edible tubers and sometimes persists around old gardens and rubbish tips.

Text by R. W. Johnson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Sepals awned at or below the apex; corolla trumpet-shaped2
Sepals not distinctly awned, corolla funnel-shaped or campanulate4
2Leaves pinnately divided into linear lobes; corolla redIpomoea quamoclit
Leaves with margins entire or shallowly lobed
                       Back to 1
3
3Corolla red, less than 5 cm longIpomoea hederifolia
Corolla white, more than 5 cm long
                       Back to 2
Ipomoea alba
4Corolla less than 3 cm long5
Corolla more than 3 cm long
                       Back to 1
8
5Erect or decumbent herb; corolla pinkIpomoea polymorpha
Trailing or twining herb; corolla white
                       Back to 4
6
6Sepals and corolla glabrous; stems coarse, trailingIpomoea diamantinensis
Sepals ciliate; mid-petaline band hairy; stems trailing or twining
                       Back to 5
7
7Stems twining; leaves cordateIpomoea plebeia
Stems trailing; leaves attenuate or rounded at the base
                       Back to 6
Ipomoea lonchophylla
8Leaves palmately divided to the baseIpomoea cairica
Leaves entire or lobed
                       Back to 4
9
9Stems trailing; leaves more or less leathery, rounded, emarginateIpomoea brasiliensis
Stems twining; leaves herbaceous, ovate, acuminate
                       Back to 8
10
10Sepals acute, less than 15 mm long; inflorescence 1- to few-flowered, bracteoles less than 7 mm longIpomoea purpurea
Sepals long attenuate, more than 15 mm long; inflorescence many-flowered, bracteoles more than 1 cm long
                       Back to 9
Ipomoea indica

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