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Jacquemontia ovalifolia
Alternative Botanical Names
Convolvulus ovalifolius
Convolvulus sandwicensis
Ipomoea ovalifolia
Jacquemontia sandwicensis

Common Names
Potential or Traditional Uses
Photo of Jacquemontia ovalifolia
Jacquemontia ovalifolia is a sprawling, non-woody vine that forms a mat 3 to 8 inches deep. The stems are prostrate, up to 10 feet long, and frequently root at the leaf nodes. The leaves are thick or fleshy, oval-shaped to round, and about 2 inches long and half as wide.

The 1/2 to 1 inch tubular flowers are pale blue to white. The flower color is more intense in the morning, fading during the day. The flowers occur in small bunches growing out of the leaf axils. Jacquemontia ovalifolia flowers throughout the year, but peaks in December through July. (Bornhorst 1996; NTBG 1992; Wagner 1990)

Habitat and Geographic Range
Jacquemontia ovalifolia is indigenous to Hawaii. It also grows naturally in Mexico, the West Indies, and Africa. The form found in Hawaii has larger flowers and denser hairs than other types. It is referred to as subspecies sandwicensis. It can be found growing on all the main islands at elevations ranging from sea level to 100 feet. In Hawai'i, Jacquemontia ovalifolia grows in coastal habitats especially on the leeward sides of the islands. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The fruit of Jacquemontia ovalifolia is a 1/4 inch tan or brown papery capsule containing 1 to 4 small seeds. Koob recommends using fresh seed.

To remove the seeds from the capsule, air dry them at room temperature in a bowl or paper bag. Carefully rub the capsules through a strainer with the appropriate size mesh. The seeds should fall through leaving the debris in the strainer.

Plant the cleaned seed in a well-drained medium such as 3 parts perlite to 1 part peat or a mix of 1 part perlite to 1 part peat to 1 part cinders. Plant the seeds shallowly, barely covering them with media. Place the seeds in a covered area and water daily. Germination takes 1 week to 2 months. (Bornhorst 1996; Koob 1999; Lilleng-Rosenberger 1998; NTBG 1992; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
Jacquemontia ovalifolia often forms roots where leaf nodes come into contact with the soil and is easily grown from cuttings. Cuttings should be 3 to 4 inches long with 2 or 3 nodes per cutting. Leaves should be trimmed to reduce water loss through transpiration.

Plant cuttings in a well-drained medium such as 3 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite; Koob suggests that they are so easily rooted that almost any medium will be adequate if kept moist. Boche reports that over 65% of stem and tip cuttings rooted under 50% shade using a medium of 3 parts peat moss to 1 part vermiculite. Rooting hormone is not required. Place in a shaded location and water regularly. (Boche 1992; Bornhorst 1996; Koob 1999; NTBG 1992)

Propagation by Division
Not applicable.
Propagation by Air Layers
No information located to date.
Propagation by Grafting
No information located to date.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
Lynch found that explants made from terminal vine sections of Jacquemontia ovalifolia were more frequently successful and less often contaminated than those from older parts of the vine. She reports disinfesting buds taken from terminal vine sections with 10 percent and 5 percent concentrations of bleach (Clorox). There is no indication given whether differences were observed between the two concentrations of disinfestant.

The disinfested buds were placed in modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium with 20 grams of sucrose and without any plant hormones (PGRs). She used the resulting shoots to test two levels of benzyladenine (BA) on shoot proliferation. The two BA concentrations were added to modified MS medium. She found that shoot proliferation in Jacquemontia ovalifolia was better in the medium containing the higher concentration of 1.0 mg/L BA. This report did not include information on rooting medium, but Lynch noted that roots formed on 6 of 44 cultures in these experiments. (Lynch 1996)

Boche, Kenneth. 1992. Unpublished paper on propagation of selected native Hawaiian and Polynesian introduced plants: Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 27-28.

Koob, Gregory A. 1999. The horticulture of Pa'uohi'iaka. Hawai'i Horticulture 2 (5):5-7.

Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin. 1998. Propagation techniques for native Hawaiian plants. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):33-35.

Lynch, Kay. 1996. Shoot proliferation in micropropagated Jacquemontia ovalifolia (Choisy) H. Hallier ssp. sandwicensis (A. Gray) K. Robertson. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 25 (1):7-9.

National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). 1992. Pa'uohi'iaka. In Native Hawaiian plant information sheets. Lawai, Kauai: Hawaii Plant Conservation Center. National Tropical Botanical Garden. Unpublished internal papers.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 562.

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The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
17 August 2001

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