Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Ipomoea pes-caprae subspecies brasiliensis is a pantropical, perennial, trailing vine, often forms large mats just above the high tide line on coastal beaches and dunes throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The long stems are purple and often root at the nodes. Showy, bisexual, funnel-shaped flowers are produced that have copious nectar from a large circular nectary at the base of the flower and smaller amounts from glands on the sepals. Insect visitors are attracted to the large flowers, which are produced year-round, by the pink-purple color and ultraviolet light patterns of the corolla; there is no notable floral odor. The plants are self-incompatible, outcrossing to produce seeds that are apparently dispersed by seawater (but see Martinez et al. 2002). The leaves are somewhat succulent (like those of many beach plants) and are usually at least slightly notched--like the cloven hooves of a goat ("pes-caprae" refers to goat feet). The plant's notched leaves produce nectar from a pair of glands on each petiole near the point of blade attachment. Red nectaries on young leaves attract ants and various other visitors; black nectaries on older leaves do not attract insects. (Jones and Kobayashi 1969; Devall and Thien 1989 and references therein; Whistler 1992; Kaplan 1999) Devall (1992) provides a comprehensive review of the biology of this plant and should be referred to for additional information.