Ipomoea aquatica Forsskal

Last updated: 24 June 2015

Scientific Name

Ipomoea aquatica Forsskal


Ipomoea natans Dinter & Suess., Ipomoea repens Roth, Ipomoea reptans Poir., Ipomoea sagittifolia Hochr., Ipomoea subdentata Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kangkong, kankung [2]
English Kangkong, water convolvulus, water spinach, pond morning glory, potato vine, swamp cabbage, swamp morning glory, water convolvulus, water ipomoea, winter spinach [2][3]
China Ong-tsai, ung-choi, ung-tsoi, yung-tsai, wang cai, weng cai [3]
Indonesia Kangkung, kankong [2]; bungan kangkung (Bali)[3]
Thailand Phakbung (General); phakthotyot (Central) [2]
Laos Bôngz [2]
Philippines Kangkong (Tagalog); balangog, galatgat (Ilocano) [2]
Cambodia Trâkuön [2][3]
Vietnam Rau mu[oos]ng [2]
Brunei Kangkong [3]
Myanmar Kan-swun [3]
Papua New Guinea Kangkong, kango [2]
Benin Amanamana, atoyoé, gfbessifla, wabala [3]
Congo Metenga, motenga [3]
Ivory Coast Alédan bliassou [3]
Kenya Balanbal, bwere mlungu, chamarirobia [3]
Madagascar Lalanda [3]
Mali Bakorokofaraka [3]
Niger Duman kada, talhana [3]
Nigeria Duman rafi, yumbururu [3]
Sahara Ban nama [3]
Sudan Baforoko-faraka, malifito [3]
Tanzania Ilando, lilando lyamwinyanza [3]
Togo Aflame, ragtooga, waboba, yovofla [3]
France Patate aquatique, liseron d'eau [2]

Geographical Distributions

Ipomoea aquatica originated in tropical Asia (possibly India) and can be found in South and Southeast Asia, tropical Africa, South and Central America and Oceania. I. aquatica is an important leafy vegetable only in South and Southeast Asia. It is intensively grown and frequently eaten throughout Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and in southern China. [2]

Botanical Description

I. aquatica is a member of the Convolvulaceae family. It is an annual or perennial and fast-growing herb with smooth, succulent and hollow stems rooting at the nodes in a wet ground. [2]

The leaves are arranged alternately, with a long petiole, triangular or lance-shaped, measuring 2.5-15 cm x 0.5-10 cm and heart-shaped or hastate at the base. The petioles are green or purple. [2]

The flowers are borne singly or in clusters of 2-7 in the leaf axils, funnel-form, measure 4-7.5 cm long with a limb measures about 5 cm wide and with a magenta or purple throat, or pink, lavender or purple. [2]

The fruit is an ovoid capsule, measuring 7-9 mm in diametre, smooth, brown, cupped by the 5-lobed sepal and contains 2-4 seeds. [2]

The seed is angular to rounded, smooth or velvet, measures 4 mm long and black or light to dark brown. Seedling exhibits epigeal germination and with horseshoe-shaped cotyledons. [2]


I. aquatica is a quantitative short-day plant. It produces optimum yields in the lowland humid tropics, with stable high temperatures and short-day conditions. I. aquatica is a typical lowland vegetable. It is rarely grown above 700 m altitude because at average temperatures below 23°C, the growth rate is too slow to make it as an economic crop. At higher latitudes (North Thailand, North Vietnam, Hong Kong), it is mainly grown as a summer vegetable. Adapted to a wide range of soil conditions, I. aquatica has a relatively high soil moisture requirement and clay soils are generally suitable. Soils with a high level of organic material are preferable. The optimum pH is between 5.3 and 6.0. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of I. aquatic. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2015 June 24]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/tro-8500040
  2. Dibiyantoro ALH, Schmelzer GH. Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001; p. 316
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 577-578.