Common Australian Garden Weeds

Ipomoea cairica

Scientific name: Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet

Photo of mile-a-minute (Ipomoea cairica) showing twining stems, palmate leaves and pinkish purple tubular flowers.

Flowers and leaves of Ipomoea cairica.

The tubular flower showing the darker centre.

A close-up of the palmate leaves of mile-a-minute.

Synonyms: Convolvulus cairicus L.; Ipomoea palmata Forssk

Common names: Five-leaf morning glory, mile-a-minute


Probably native to tropical Africa and Asia, now cosmopolitan.


Perennial twiner, grows rampantly.


Weed of untended areas, especially near the coast.

General description:

Stems and leaves:

Stems are hairless, growing with a twining habit, rooting at the nodes. Leaves are divided into five or seven lobes, like fingers of a hand, the whole leaf size is 3-10 x 3-10 cm. Leaves are alternate, hairless with petioles 2-6 cm.

Flowers and fruits: Flowers are funnel-form; purple to pinkish purple (occasionally white) with a darker tubular centre. Petals are 4-6 cm long. Flowering occurs year round. Fruits are more or less globular 1-1.2 cm in diameter.

Distinguishing characteristics:

Rampant twiner with 5-7 lobed finger-like leaves and purple to purplish-pink funnel-like flowers with a darker tubular centre.

Noxious status:

Declared noxious in New South Wales.


Kleinschmidt, H.E., Holland, A. and Simpson, P. (1996). Suburban Weeds. 3rd Edition. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.

Stanley, T.E. and Ross, E.M. (1983-1989). Flora of South-eastern Queensland. Volume 2. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.

Anonymous. (2000). Noxious Weed List for Australian States and Territories. Prepared by the National Weeds Strategy Executive Committee.

Auld, B.A. and Medd, R.W. (1996). Weeds: An Illustrated Botanical Guide to Weeds of Australia. Inkata Press, Sydney.