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Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica)

Water spinach Synonyms: Ipomoea reptans, Ipomoea subdentata, Convolvulus reptans.

Common Names: Chinese waterspinach, Swamp morningglory

Description: It is a popular cultivated green vegetable in China, India, Malaysia, Africa, Brazil, the West Indies, and Central America.

Habit: Herbaceous, creeping vine growing up to 9 feet long but can reach over 70 feet long. Can grow up to 4 inches per day.

Leaves: Alternate, simple, smooth petioles 1-6 inches long; leaf blades generally arrowhead shaped but variable, smooth (rarely hairy), to 7 inches long, with tips pointed; blades held above water when stems floating.

Stems: Herbaceous, hollow, trailing, with milky sap and roots at the nodes; usually to 9 ft long but can be longer.

Flowers: Showy, white or pale pink to lilac in color; broadly funnel shaped, "morning glory" like; solitary or in few-flowered clusters at leaf axils.

Fruit and seeds: Oval or spherical capsule, wood at maturity, about 1 cm (1/2 in) wide, holding 1-4 grayish seeds that are often hairy.

Habitat: Native to southeast Asia. Found in lakes, ponds, wetlands, and streams.

Reproduction: By seed or vegetatively from fragments.

Similar species: Other species of Ipomoea or Convolvulus such as field bindweed, sweet potato or morning glory have similar flowers and leaves, but lack the hollow floating stems.

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand pulling if all fragments are collected and destroyed along with the use of aquatic approved formulas of 2,4-D or glyphosate.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Weed Alert and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Water spinach

Scientific Name:

Ipomoea aquatica


(Morning glory)





USDA Symbol: