Ipomoea pes-capra Photo Claire Sunquist ©
Railroad vine is named for its tendency to send out long, rapidly growing, ‘tracks’ or runners, which help stabilize dunes and prevent erosion. This vine blooms year around and the showy pink or lavender colored flowers make it an easy to identify plant on Florida’s beaches and dunes.
The tough leathery leaves are about 4 inches long, and notched at the top, their outline is said to resemble a goat’s footprint – hence the plant’s scientific name pes-capra or ‘foot of the goat’.
Railroad vine is highly resistant to heat, salt, and wind and is found on tropical and subtropical beaches throughout the world. Railroad vine is often planted with sea oats in beach restoration and dune stabilization projects.
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