Saturday, August 11, 2012

Antigonon leptopus........ Coral Vine

Flowering now in the Garden at Cortijo Azahar..........

Antigonon leptopus  is one of 3 species of tendril climbers from Mexico and Central America and is placed under the family name of Polygonaceae.

 It has several common names – Corallita, Confederation Vine and Mexican Creeper.
 It is a fast growing climber with alternate, heart-shaped to almost triangular, bright green leaves and edible tuberous roots.
Grown for its small, delicate, pink flowers, which are usually borne in panicles at the tip of the shoots, it is a perennial that likes full sun and moist well drained soil but it tolerates poor soil and a wide range of light conditions, making it a very successful plant species.

 The name Antigonon comes from Greek – anti, like;  gonia, angle; in allusion to the growth habit of the stem which takes a series of rather sharp angles.

We first came across this attractive creeper when holidaying in the Seychelles some three years ago.  It completely and very prettily covered the low wall between our beach house and the road.

 Antigonon leptopus  or Coral vine is an invasive species that has increased in abundance in recent years in south and central Florida. It is often grown as a landscape plant in the southeast and Gulf regions of the United States and is listed as a Category II invasive exotic by the Florida’s Exotic Pest Plant Council.

 In some parts of the world, the tubers and flowers are consumed as food.
 In Thailand, leaves and flowers, flour-coated and fried, are served with noodles.

Bark, fruit, leaves and seeds have been traditionally used as medicine.
Studies have shown anti-thrombin, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and lipid peroxidation inhibitiory properties.

 In the Philippines is an isolated report of use by Ifugao-migrants in the foothills of the Sierra Madre for wound closure.

Trinidad and Tobago it has been  used for diabetes, low blood pressure, and as a heart tonic.  Aerial portion of the flowers used in decoctions as a cold remedy.

 In other countries decoction of aerial parts used as a remedy for colds and pain relief.
Jamaica, decoction of aerial parts traditionally used for prevention of cough and flu-related pains.