Scientific Name: Ipomoea cairica
Synonyms: Ipomoea palmata, I. tuberculata Roem. & Schult.
Common Names: Mile A Minute Vine, Koali Ai, Koali, Kowali
Growth Habit: Vine, Herb/Forb
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental garden plant and Polynesian canoe plant is native to tropical Africa and Asia.
Flower Color: Purple to violet, White
Height: Up to 16 feet (5 m) tall
Description: The flowers are funnel-shaped, up to 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) in diameter, and purple to white in color with a dark purple center. The flowers are followed by brown, rounded, hairless seed capsules containing hairy, black to tan seeds. The leaves are green, hairless, papery, alternate, and palmately divided into usually 5 or 7 lobes. The stems are slender and twining. The plants are fast growing.
Here in Hawaii, Mile A Minute Vine grows in sunny, open, disturbed, often dry and rocky areas at low elevations.
Canoe Plant – The ancient Polynesians brought the seeds to Hawaii in their canoes. They used the stems for cordage and ate the grated, roasted tubers.
Edible – The tubers are reportedly edible if cooked.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Convolvulaceae – Morning-glory family
Genus: Ipomoea L. – morning-glory
Species: Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet – mile a minute vine
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