Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Originally from Central and South America, Purple Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica) is a vigorous, perennial climber with stems to 15 metres high.
  • Was once widely cultivated as a garden ornamental.
  • Occurs  along riparian zones to edge of native vegetation in wetter tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions.
  • Occurs on a wide variety of soils, but prefers moist areas, particularly nutrient rich sites.
  • Forms either a dense ground cover or climb high into the canopy.
  • Infestations can smother native vegetation and dominate.
  • Can be controlled by herbicides and physical removal,  but stems should be removed from sites as these can root and form new plants.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Purple Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica) is a vigorous, perennial climber growing up to 15 m high. The twining stems are hairy. The numerous hairy leaves are heart-shaped in outline, with entire (having a smooth margin, not lobed) but mostly  divided into 3 to 5 prominent lobes.  Leaves are 4 to 17 cm long and 3 to 15 mm wide, with the upper surface with appressed-hairs, lower surface silky-tomentose (with a dense covering of short, woolly hairs). The leaf stalks 3 to 13 cm long.

The flowers have five petals which are fused into a large eye-catching funnel-shaped corolla. The corolla is mostly blue to purple in colour and 6 to 8 cm across. The flowers are grouped together into clusters of 3 to 12. Each cluster is borne on a stalk 2 to 20 cm long arising from the junction of the leaf stalk and the stem.

The fruit, a three-chambered capsule is more or less spherical in shape and about 10 mm in diameter. The hairless seeds are egg-shaped, 4 to 5 mm diameter and have a warty surface. Purple Morning Glory rarely sets fruit and seed in Australia (Johnson 1992; Green 1994; Big Scrub Rainforest Landcare Group 2000; Land Protection 2006; Thorp & Wilson 2007; VicFlora 2016).

For further information and assistance with identification of Purple Morning Glory contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour

Blue, Purple

Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Purple Morning Glory reportedly grows in a wide variety of soils and situations. However, it prefers moist areas particularly nutrient rich sites. Commonly recorded in urban areas, wasteland, along roadsides and watercourses, and on rainforest margins (Big Scrub Rainforest Landcare Group 2000; New South Wales North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee 2004).

Are there similar species?

Purple Morning Glory is similar to and can be confused with Common Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea) which is distinguished by its sepals (green flower segments that surround the base of the corolla) with an acute tip, not long and tapering as for Purple Morning Glory (Thorp & Wilson 2007).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Purple Morning Glory has a climbing habit that enables it to compete successfully with trees and shrubs on the edges of forests and along riparian zones. This species inhabits wetter tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions and tolerates hot to cool temperatures, and damp to dry conditions. It is particularly common in suburban gullies, gardens, along roadsides and waterways and in disturbed rainforest. Also a weed of summer crops, plantations, open woodlands, disturbed sites and waste areas.

Agriculture: A weed of summer crops, plantations, and appears to be rare in areas that are subject to constant grazing by cattle but can thrive soon after stock are removed from a pasture. 

Native ecosystems: Can form either a dense ground cover or climb high into the canopy. Infestations can smother native vegetation (Land Protection 2006).

Urban areas: A weed of neglected a little cared for urban ares including riparian edges, railway margins, vacant house lots and back lanes on a fence, urban wasteland.

Purple morning glory is toxic to humans, causing discomfort and irritation but is not life-threatening. The seeds are poisonous if ingested, causing visual distortion, restlessness and nausea. 

What to do if poisoning occurs:

  • If the patient is unconscious, unresponsive or having difficulty breathing dial 000 or get to the emergency section of a hospital immediately.
  • If the patient is conscious and responsive call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or your doctor.
  • If going to a hospital take a piece of the plant for identification.

How does it spread?

Purple Morning Glory appears not to produce large quantities of seed if any in Australia (Johnson 1992). However, the plant is capable of vegetative propagation by producing new roots from the nodes on stems that contact the soil (Land Protection 2006). In Australia, the spread of Purple Morning Glory is more likely the result of dispersal of stem fragments, often by the careless disposal of vegetative material. Dispersal by water and birds is also reported (Big Scrub Rainforest Landcare Group 2000).

What is its history in Australia?

Purple Morning Glory was widely cultivated as a garden ornamental and has become naturalised in many coastal areas (Johnson 1992).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Purple Morning Glory can be removed by physical and chemical means. However, if any stems or rhizome roots left on site will resprout as the species reproduces vegetatively by rooting along its stems. These stem fragments should be removed from sites is to prevent subsequent regrowth. Herbicide and physical means are often used together to control this weed.

Non-chemical control: Purple Morning Glory can be manually removed by pulling up the roots and mulching heavily to discourage regrowth (Land Protection 2006). However, care should be taken to remove the stem, crown and roots as it can regrow from them if left in the ground. Hand pull, dig out roots (all year round). remove and dispose of roots and stems offsite. 

Chemical control: Herbicides applied as a foliar sprayed can be effective in areas where Purple Morning Glory forms and dense groundcover. Stems of individual vines can be scraped and painted with herbicide (Big Scrub Rainforest Landcare Group 2000). The cut stump method and stem scraping is a method is suitable for treating this climber vines if it is actively growing and not stressed with application of herbicide to cult stems (Brisbane City Council 2021). 

Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Purple Morning Glory is a vigorous perennial climber. It flowers mainly from September to June. However, it rarely sets fruit and seed in Australia (Johnson 1986; Johnson 1992).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Purple Morning Glory is naturalised in all mainland states except the Northern Territory. It occurs mostly in coastal or subcoastal areas from Cape Tribulation Queensland southward to the south coast of New South Wales (Johnson 1992; Queensland Herbarium 2007). 

It is also recorded in Western Australia from Geraldton to Denmark with one record from the upper Gascoyne River (Western Australian Herbarium 1998 -). 

In south-eastern South Australia it occurs mostly in the Southern Lofty Region with a few records from the Northern Lofty and Murray regions (AVH 2021). 

In Victoria it is known from the greater Melbourne metropolitan area (Jeanes 1999). 

Purple Morning Glory is also reported from a few inland localities in Queensland (e.g. Theodore and St George) and New South Wales (AVH 2021).

Where does it originate?

Purple Morning Glory is native to South America, but is now distributed throughout the tropical parts of the world as a cultivated and naturalised plant (Fang & Staples 1995).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Ipomoea indica

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

  • Convolvulus acuminatus Vahl
  • Convolvulus congestus (R.Br.) Spreng.
  • Convolvulus indicus Burm.
  • Ipomoea acuminata (Vahl) Roem. & Schult.
  • Ipomoea cataractae Endl.
  • Ipomoea congesta R.Br.
  • Ipomoea insularis (Choisy) Steud.
  • Ipomoea leari Paxton (incorrect spelling)
  • Ipomoea learii Paxton
  • Pharbitis insularis Choisy

Does it have other known common name(s)?

Blue Morning Glory, Blue Dawnflower, Dunny Creeper, Lear's Morning Glory, Morning Glory

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