Ipomoea nil (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Ipomoea nil (L.) Roth

Protologue: Cat. Bot. 1: 36 (1797).


  • Convolvulus nil L. (1762),
  • Ipomoea scabra Forssk. (1775),
  • Ipomoea setosa Blume (1825).

Vernacular names

  • Blue morning glory (En)
  • Indonesia: areuy jotang bodas (Sundanese), teleng (Javanese)
  • Philippines: bulakan, kamokamotihan (Tagalog)
  • Thailand: waan tam khoei (south-eastern), waan phak bung (Bangkok)
  • Vietnam: hắc sửu, khiên ngưu, bìm lam.


Circumtropical, including South-East Asia, but not yet found in Borneo.


In Indonesia and Nigeria, the seeds are used as a purgative. In China, the seeds are regarded as a diuretic, anthelmintic and deobstruant and are prescribed for dropsy and constipation, and to promote menstruation. A strong decoction is taken as an abortifacient. A decoction of the root is an emmenagogue. The plant is also widely cultivated for ornamental purposes.


  • A herbaceous annual or perennial, retrorsely hirsute, stems twining, sometimes prostrate.
  • Leaves broadly ovate to orbicular in outline, entire or 3-lobed, 4-14 cm × 3-12 cm, base cordate, apex acuminate, petiole 3-16 cm long.
  • Flowers solitary or in a few-flowered cyme, peduncle 2.5-12 cm long, bracts linear to filiform, 5-8 mm long; pedicel 5-10 mm long, sepals equal, lanceolate, 17-25 mm long, corolla funnel-shaped, 5-6 cm long, pale to bright blue, afterwards red or purple, rarely white, base of filaments with curled hairs, ovary glabrous.
  • Capsule ovoid to globular, mucronate, 1 cm in diameter, glabrous, mostly 3-valved and 3-celled; seed 5 mm long, black, grey-puberulent.

I. nil occurs in hedges, thickets, grasslands, and along roadsides, from sea-level up to 1300 m altitude. Sometimes a weed in sugar-cane plantations.

Selected sources

74, 134,

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.

696, 786, 1026.


Anna L.H. Dibiyantoro & G.H. Schmelzer