Know about Coral Vine (Mexican Creeper)

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Coral Vine Quick Facts
Name: Coral Vine
Scientific Name: Antigonon leptopus
Origin Mexico (Baja Sur, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa and Sonora)
Colors Brown
Shapes Conical and 3-angled achene 8–12 mm long and 4–7 mm wide, shining
Health benefits Beneficial for diabetes, low blood pressure, flu, menstrual pains, cough, sore throat, asthma, liver and spleen disorders and heart disease
Coral Vine scientifically known as Antigonon leptopus is a flowering plant from the buckwheat family, polygonaceae. The plant is native to Mexico (Baja Sur, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa and Sonora), now common in warm tropical countries globally. Bride’s Tears, Chain-of-Love, Chinese Love Vine, Confederate Vine, Confederate-Vine, Coral Bells, Coral Creeper, Coral Vine, Coralita, Corallita, Coral Vine, Hearts on a Chain, Honolulu Creeper, Love Chain, Love-Vine, Mexican Coral Vine, Mexican Creeper, Mexican-Creeper, Mexican Love Vine, Mountain Rose, Mountain-Rose Coralvine, Mountain-Rose Coralvine, Pink Vine, Queen’s Jewels, Queen’s Wreath, San Miguelito Vine, Sandwich Island Creeper, coral rose vine, Mexican rose and mountain coral vine are some of the popular common names of the plant.

The name of the genus is of uncertain origin, after some it should come from the Greek “anti” = against and “gόnia” = angle, with reference to the angular stems; the name of the species is the combination of the Greek terms “leptos” = thin and “pus, podόs” = foot, with reference to the thin stems. Not a lot of plants are completely edible but this is a unique feature the coral vine has. Since it is food to a lot of people it has traversed the world. In some regions it is cultivated in landscapes as an ornamental since it has showy flowers. The fruit and seeds are eaten and spread by a wide range of animals such as pigs, raccoons and birds. The tubers will re-sprout if the plant is cut back or damaged by frost.

Coral Vine Facts

Name Coral Vine
Scientific Name Antigonon leptopus
Native Mexico (Baja Sur, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa and Sonora), now common in warm tropical countries globally
Common Names Bride’s Tears, Chain-of-Love, Chinese Love Vine, Confederate Vine, Confederate-Vine, Coral Bells, Coral Creeper, Coral Vine, Coralita,

Corallita, Coral Vine, Hearts on a Chain, Honolulu Creeper, Love Chain, Love-Vine, Mexican Coral Vine, Mexican Creeper, Mexican-Creeper, Mexican Love Vine, Mountain Rose, Mountain-Rose Coralvine, Mountain-Rose Coralvine, Pink Vine, Queen’s Jewels, Queen’s Wreath, San Miguelito Vine, Sandwich Island Creeper, coral rose vine, Mexican rose, mountain coral vine

Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Koraalranker
Australia: Coral creeper
Bahamas: coralline
Bengali: Anantalata (অনংতলতা)
Brazil: Amor agarradinho
Chamorro: Cadena De Amor, Flores Kádena
Dominican Republic: Bellacima, bellacina, Carolina, copalina, guirnalda, guirnalda Americana
Dutch: Engletåre
English: Confederate-vine, coral vine, Mexican coral vine, Mexican creeper, Chain-of-love, Mountain-rose coralvine, Queen’s jewels, Queen’s wreath, hearts on a chain, love-vine, mountain rose, cemetery vine, corallita, St James’ flower, St Michael’s flower, bee bush, San Miguelito vine, queen’s wreath, Bride’s Tears
Finnish: Koralliköynnös
French: Rosa-De-Montana, Antigone, liane antigone, liane corail, antigone à pied grêle, belle mexicaine, liane aurore
German: Mexikanischer Rosenknöterich,
Haiti: Belle mexicaine, pois-et-riz, Bèl meksikèn
Hebrew: אנטיגון דק-עוקצים
Hungarian: Korall-lián
Indonesia: Bunga Air Mata Pengantin
Jamaica: Coralila, Coralita
Kannada: Āṇṭigonān (ಆಂಟಿಗೊನಾನ್)
Lesser Antilles: Bee bush, cemetery vine, cercle barril, la belle mexicana, lyann barril, zeb semitye
Malayalam: Tēnpūvaḷḷi (തേൻപൂവള്ളി)
Malaysia: Honolulu Creeper, Bunga Bonet, Bunga Berteh
Mexico: Kadena De Amor
Micronesia, Federated states of: Love vine, rohsenpoak suwed
Northern Marianas Islands: Flores Ka-dena
Palauan: Dilngau
Papiamento: Beyisima
Philippines: Cadena-De-Amor, Cadena-De-Amor, Flores De Singapore
Pohnpei: Rohsapoak, rohsenpoak suwed
Portuguese: Amor Em Penca, Amor Entrelacado, Amor-Agarradinho, Coralia, Coralita, Entrada De Baile, Georgina, Mimo Do Ceu, Rosa De Sao Miguelito, Rosalia
Puerto Rico: Bellosinia, coral, coralina
Spanish: Bellísima, Corazon Bello, Corona, Coronilla, Kadena De Amor, Rosa De Montana, bellísima, cadena de amor, coral, coralilla, coralillo, coralillo rosado, coralita, pensamiento, bellosinia, cadena de amor, colación confite, coralito, corallita, Coralina
Swedish: Rosensky
Tamil: Kodi Rose, Koṭi rōjā (கொடி ரோஜா)
Telegu: Picchibatani
Thai: Puang Chom-Poo (พวงชมพู)
Tongan: Ufi, Sēiniʻoeʻofa
United States Virgin Islands: Love chain
Vietnamese: Dây Ti Gôn; Hiếu Nữ; Hoa Tigôn, Nho Hoa, Ti gon
Plant Growth Habit Fast-growing, climbing, somewhat woody, robust vine
Growing Climates Pine rock lands, rock land hammocks, tropical hardwood hammocks, scrub, maritime forests, and swamps, waterways and riparian areas, monsoon vine thickets, rainforest margins, coastal sand dunes
Soil Prefers near-neutral to alkaline soils with pH of 6.1–7.8, moderately fertile sandy or light soils with moderate moisture level
Plant Size About 6-10 m tall, occasionally reaching up to 15 m in height
Stem Branched, angular in cross-section, and either hairless (glabrous) or sparsely to densely covered in brownish or reddish hairs
Leaf Cordate–ovate, hastate–ovate or triangular (2.5–9 cm) leaves. The leaves are borne on short often winged, glabrate petioles and have reticulate venation, cordate base, ciliate margins and acute to acuminate tips
Inflorescence Inflorescence 4–20 cm long panicle with clusters of white or pink flowers along the rachis which has a tendrilate tip
Flowering season April to May
Flower Flower with ovate to elliptic tepals with entire margins and acute apex on 3–10 mm glabrous or pubescent pedicels
Fruit Shape & Size Small brown fruit (achenes) are cone-shaped or three-angled and are 8-12 mm long and 4-7 mm wide having shiny appearance
Fruit Color Brown
Propagation Sexually by seeds, and also vegetatively by stems, plant fragments, tubers, and root suckers

Plant description

Coral Vine is a fast-growing, climbing, somewhat woody, robust vine that climbs using tendrils at the end of the inflorescence axes and attains height about 6-10 m tall, occasionally reaching up to 15 m in height. The plant is found growing in  disturbed areas, coastal cliffs, coastal forests, dry to moist lowland forests in warm tropical and subtropical regions, pine rock lands, rock land hammocks, tropical hardwood hammocks, scrub, maritime forests, and swamps, waterways and riparian areas, monsoon vine thickets, rainforest margins, coastal sand dunes, mangrove vegetation, roadsides, waste areas, old gardens and banks of watercourses. The plant prefers near-neutral to alkaline soils with pH of 6.1–7.8, moderately fertile sandy or light soils with moderate moisture level. It is drought tolerant; once established it needs occasional water.

Stem

Stems are puberulent, pentagonal, with many lateral branches. The slender stems climb up or sprawl over other vegetation by means of tendrils that are borne in the leaf forks (axils). They are branched, angular in cross-section, and either hairless (glabrous) or sparsely to densely covered in brownish or reddish hairs (pubescent). Older stems may sometimes become brown and woody towards the base of the plant, while younger stems are reddish-brown or green in color.

Leaves

The alternately arranged leaves are simple and borne on stalks (petioles) 1-5 cm long. These stalks are sometimes slightly winged and have a very small membranous structure (ochrea) 0.2-2 mm long at their base. The leaf blades are 2.5-15 cm long and 2-10 cm wide and are either egg-shaped in outline with broad end at base (ovate), heart-shaped (cordate) or somewhat triangular in shape. The lower ones are usually larger and broader, while the upper ones are smaller and narrower. These leaves may have either entire, wavy (undulate) or bluntly toothed (crenate) margins and the tips are usually pointed (acute to acuminate apices). They may be hairless (glabrous) or somewhat hairy (pubescent), especially along their veins on their undersides. The leaves are light to dark green in color, have a strongly wrinkled (rugose) appearance, and are lined with a network of veins (they are reticulately veined).

Leaf arrangement Opposite/sub opposite
Leaf type Simple
Leaf margin Undulate
Leaf shape Ovate
Leaf venation Pinnate
Leaf type and persistence Deciduous
Leaf blade length 2.5-15 cm
Leaf color Green
Fall color No fall color change
Fall characteristic Not showy

 

Flowers

Flowers are borne in unbranched, or more commonly branched, clusters at the tips of the branches (in terminal racemes or panicles). These flower clusters are 4-20 cm long and have hairy stalks (puberulent to pilose peduncles) and the flowers are arranged into small groups along the branches (with 1 to 4 flowers in each group). Tips of the flower clusters usually end in a short tendril. Individual flowers are borne on smaller stalks (pedicels) 3-10 mm long and each flower has five ‘petals’ (sepals or perianth segments) that are usually bright pink in color, but may occasionally be white or reddish. These petals are 4-10 mm long and 2-6 mm wide and have entire margins and pointed tips (acute apices). They also have eight stamens and an ovary topped with three styles and stigmas. Flowering may occur throughout the year, but is most prominent during autumn (i.e. from April to May).

Flower color Bright pink, but may occasionally be white or reddish
Flower characteristic Summer flowering; pleasant fragrance; fall flowering; spring flowering

 

Fruit

The small brown fruit (achenes) are cone-shaped or three-angled and are 8-12 mm long and 4-7 mm wide having shiny appearance. These fruit usually remain hidden within the enlarged and persistent remains of the petals that are 8-20 long and 4-15 mm wide, which turn dull pink and then eventually brown as they age.

Fruit shape Cone-shaped
Fruit length 8-12 mm
Fruit cover Dry or hard
Fruit color Unknown
Fruit characteristic Inconspicuous and not showy

 

Ethno-medicinal uses of Coral Vine

Geographical area Uses
Iloilo, Philippines Gastrointestinal disorders
Amarkantak region, M.P., India Paste made from fresh leaves is applied externally in skin problems.
Pratapgarh tehsil, Rajasthan, India Seeds are used as famine food; leaves are used to treat blisters
Malayali tribals, Eastern Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India Seeds are used in diabetes.
Fatehpur, UP, India Decoction of aerial parts used for prevention of cough and flu related pains.
Trinidad and Tabago Diabetes
Nigeria Antimicrobial
Sonora, Mexico Leaves and roots used in stomachache
Himalayan region, India Medicinal
Irula tribes, Walayar valley, Southern Western Ghats, India Decoction made from roots orally to treat dermatological infections/diseases
Burhanpur district, M.P., India Leaves are used in skin diseases.
Bhil tribe of Alirajpur district, M.P., India Flower is used in pain and cold; leaf is used in blood pressure and as heart tonic.
Eastern Nicaragua Root is used as food and medicine

 

Traditional uses and benefits of Coral Vine

  • Leaves are used in Caribbean folk medicine as poultices for boils and swellings.
  • Coral Vine has been used in traditional medicine for diabetes and low blood pressure and as a heart tonic in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Tea from the leaves is used for hypertension, diabetes, flu and menstrual pains.
  • Hot tea prepared from the aerial parts of Coral Vine is used traditionally for the prevention and treatment of cough, sore throat and flu-related pain in the West Indies.
  • It is used as a poultice and locally called ‘riang-riang’ inn Sumatra.
  • In the Philippines, an isolated report stated it is used by Ifugao migrants in the foothills of the Sierra Madre for wound closure.
  • Root extract has been used to treat asthma, liver and spleen disorders in Nigeria.
  • An extract of its leaves and flowers prevent lipid peroxidation.
  • Aerial portion of the flowers used in decoction as a cold remedy.
  • Decoction of aerial parts used as a remedy for colds and pain relief.
  • In Jamaica, decoction of aerial parts traditionally used for prevention of cough and flu-related pains.
  • In Sudan, leaves used for cough and throat constriction.

Culinary Uses

  • Leaves and pink flowers are often eaten as cooked vegetables in Thailand.
  • In Thailand, the leaves and flowers are dipped in flour, fried and served with vermicelli.
  • The flowers are also mixed into omelets.
  • Herbal teas are made from the leaves and blossoms.
  • Small tubers are edible and are valued in its native area for the nut like flavor.
  • Tuberous roots are edible and are consumed by the local populations in famine periods.

Other facts

  • Coral Vine is a very good ornamental plant with amenity value.
  • The flower inflorescence is used for floral arrangement.
  • Its flowers provide a very good source of nectar and pollen, extensively visited by honey bees also visited by a variety of solitary bee species, such as carpenter bees.
  • It also provides a light brown-colored honey which has a pleasant aroma and flavor.
  • Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) is regarded as an environmental weed in the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia and on Christmas Island.
  • Flower clusters are popular for use in flower and foliage arrangements for social functions.
  • Mexican Creeper is cultivated as an ornamental vine to climb up, on and over fences, walls, pagodas and arbors to cover them and to create a showy display of foliage and flowers.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=20994#null

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/antigonon_leptopus.htm

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a486

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ANLE4

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/112316

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigonon_leptopus

https://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/eafrinet/weeds/key/weeds/Media/Html/Antigonon_leptopus_(Coral_Creeper).htm

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp043

https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/antigonon_leptopus.htm

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2050/#b

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2642295

https://www.monaconatureencyclopedia.com/antigonon-leptopus/?lang=en

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/266356

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/AIGLE

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Antigonon+leptopus

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