Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis

leaf Main Plant Information






  • brasiliensis

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Puhuehue
  • Pōhuehue

Hawaiian Names

  • Pohuehue
  • Puhuehue

Common Names

  • Bayhops
  • Beach morning glory
  • Goat foot
  • Goat's foot
  • Goats foot
  • Railroad vine

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading
  • Partially Woody / Shrub-like
  • Vine/Liana

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1
  • Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3

Mature Size, Width

Vines spread from 7 to 15 feet.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Erosion Control
  • Ground Cover

Additional Landscape Use Information

Pōhuehue is a great plant for beach front properties, and sandy, rocky, salt-spray or windy locations, while also providing erosion control.

This indigenous plant usually does form a dense groundcover and should have mulch added. [9]

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Pink
  • White

Additional Flower Color Information

Pōhuehue have small pink to lavender flowers with purple centers. A white flowered form is known from Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

Flowers last one day.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine
  • Medium

Additional Plant Texture Information

Pōhuehue leaves are about 2 to 4 or more inches long.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Vines are prone to sweet potato weevil and red spider mites.

Slugs and snails may be potential pests. [9]

"Leaf spot disease" is caused by a fungus called Cercospora alabamensis. For symptons and management please see the article "Leaf Spot of Beach Morning-Glory" provided by CTAHR


leaf Growth Requirements


An application of a balanced slow release fertilize with minor elements every six months.

Foliar feed monthly with kelp or fish emulsion or a water-soluble fertilizer with a dilution of one half to one third of recommended strength. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

Can be somewhat aggressive in active growing period. Trim to confine in growing area.

Water Requirements

  • Dry

Additional Water Information

When palnting, water them for two weeks then only in times of prolonged drought. Amend soil with cinder.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun

Spacing Information

Give pōhuehue vines room to spread. They will quickly fill in areas.


  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray
  • Heat


  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Coral


Pōhuehue is intolerant of shade. [9] Provide as much sun as possible and do not over water as it can contribute to a nasty fungal spot. (See the article in Pests & Diseases section above)

Special Growing Needs

If given enough drainage and exposure to sun, it will grow reasonably well in mauka regions as well. [9]

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Kahoʻolawe
  • Hawaiʻi
  • Northwest Islands

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Additional Habitat Information

This indigenous beach morning glory is found on sandy beaches and occasionally inland. It can also be found in lowland marshes. [2]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Pōhuehue (Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis) is a member of the Morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), which comprises some 1,650 species throughout the world.

Pōhuehue is related to some local notable eatables as ʻuala or sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and ung-choi or swamp cabbage (Ipomoea aquatica).

Native Hawaiian family members include a bonamia (Bonamia menziesii), makihi (Cressa truxillensis), koali ʻai (Ipomoea cairica), hunakai (I. imperati), koali ʻawa (I. indica), Hawaiian moon flower (I. tuboides), pōhuehue (I. pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis), kauna ʻoa (Cuscuta sandwichiana), pāʻuohiʻiaka (Jacquemontia ovalifolia subsp. sandwicensis), and possibly the White-flowered beach morning glory (Ipomoea littoralis).


The generic name Ipomoea is derived from the Greek ips, worm, and homoios, similar to, meaning worm-like, in reference to the twining habit.

The hyphenated specific epithet pes-caprae is from the Latin pes, foot, and caprae, goat, or literally "foot of a goat," in reference to the shape of the leaves similar to that of a goat's foot (hoof).

The subspecies brasiliensis is in reference to the country of Brazil (Brasil), part of its pantropic range.

Background Information

Pōhuehue is often a host for its relative kaunaʻoa (Cuscuta sandwichiana). [9]

Surprisingly, some have labeled pōhuehue as a "weed." [4]

Early Hawaiian Use


The vines were also made into a type of bushy rope attached to each of the sticks on the bag net used in fishing. [1] Cordage was sometimes made from the pliable stems. [8]

Food (Famine):

Roots and leaves were used by Hawaiians of old as famine foods. But carthartic compounds makes its use DANGEROUS! [3,7]


The leafy vines were used as lei. [5]


Even with its dangers, a few of the young leaf buds (muʻo) were eaten by women just prior to giving birth to hasten delivery. [3,7]

Modern Use

The subspecies brasiliensis is known as salsa-da-praia in Brazil and used in traditional folk medicine. However, due to the carthartic compounds, it should be viewed as unsafe for internal use. [6]

Additional References

[1] "Plants in Hawaiian Culture" by Beatrice H. Krauss, pages 39, 41.
[2] "A Guide to Pacific Wetlands Plants" by Lani Stemmermann, page 82.

[3] "Native Planters in Old Hawaii--Their Life, Lore, & Environment" by E. S. Handy and Elizabeth Green Handy, pages 238, 240.

[4] "Handbook of Hawaiian Weeds" by E. L. Haselwood, page 310.

[5] "Nā Lei Makamae--The Treasured Lei" by Marie A. McDonald & Paul R. Weissich, pages 133-135.

[6] [Accessed 12/13/10]

[7] "In Gardens of Hawaii" by Marie C. Neal, page 709.

[8] "Lāʻau Hawaiʻi: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants" by Isabella Aiona Abbott, page 63.

[9] "How to Plant a Native Hawaiian Garden" by Kenneth M. Nagata, page "Pōhuehue."




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