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Common Name: Moonflower
Flowering plants, climbing up the trellis around a house
Photograph by: Bev Wagar
Ipomoea alba is a Evergreen Perennial Climber up to 10.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Wet forests, watercourses and disturbed areas in China[
|Habit||Evergreen Perennial Climber
Requires a fertile well-drained loam in a warm sunny position[
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
]. Another report says that plants need a minimum temperature of 5°c if they are to overwinter successfully[
A short-lived perennial or biennial species[
]. A fast-growing climbing plant, it is best grown as a temporary screen in the garden or along the boundary edge[
]. Plants need a long period of growth to reach flowering size and so are not very suitable for growing in pots in a greenhouse[
A climbing plant, supporting itself by twining around the branches of other plants[
The plant forms tubercles (baby tubers) on the stems and can be propagated by them[
The aromatic flowers open of a night time[
Young leaves and fleshy calyces - cooked. Steamed and eaten as a vegetable or used in curries, soups, stews etc[
]. They can also be dried for later use[
Seed - eaten when young[
The whole herb is used in treating snakebite[
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water, or scarify the seed, and sow in individual pots in a greenhouse in early spring. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 weeks at 22°c. Plants are extremely resentful of root disturbance, even when they are quite small, and should be potted up almost as soon as they germinate[
]. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of side shoots in a peaty soil.
Plants form tubercles on their stems[
]. These can be stored overwinter in a slightly moist medium such as sand or leafmould, keeping them in a cool but frost-free place. Pot them up in early spring.