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Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus

Previously known as:

  • Antigonon cordatum
  • Corculum leptopus
  • Polygonum cirrhosum
Phonetic Spelling
an-TIG-oh-non LEP-toh-puss
Description

The Coral Vine is a rapidly growing, tropical climbing vine with tuberous roots. The vine is evergreen in tropical climates but deciduous in cooler climates. The leaves are pale green and somewhat arrow-shaped. The flowers are coral-pink clusters that bloom from spring to fall. The flowers may also be red or white depending on the cultivar. The tendrils and the vining habit help the plant to attach itself to arbors, trellises, fences, or walls. This fast-growing vine may grow 8-10 feet in a season. The Coral Vine is classified as a weed in the United States because of its aggressive growth. It has been classified as invasive species in Florida. 

The Coral Vine is a native of Mexico and Central America. It is typically found along roadsides, coastal cliffs, coastal forests, disturbed areas, and tropical and subtropical areas. The vine can grow up to 40 feet high in its native habitats and climbs up into the canopy of trees and spreads rapidly into the forests. It is able to survive in arid conditions. 

The genus name, Antigonon, is derived from the Greek word anti meaning "in place of" and polygonum meaning a "member of the Knotweed family." Poly references "many," and gonu means "joint."

The Coral Vine prefers warm temperatures and high precipitation. It will thrive in almost any type of soil. In warm climates, the vine grows and flowers year-round. The vine is deciduous in USDA Zone 8. The plant is cold-sensitive but quickly grows back from cold damage.

The Coral Vine is pollinated by bees and butterflies. The vine produces an abundance of seeds. The seeds are dispersed by birds and water. The plant also reproduces by stems, tubers, and plant fragments.

If you are considering planting the Coral Vine, it will be important to monitor and control the plant's spread. The risk of introduction to the landscape may be very high in some areas. In some tropical and subtropical regions, the plant was intended as ornamental, but it quickly escaped the garden and rapidly spread to the forest and enveloped the trees. 

Due to the Coral Vines' invasive nature, it may be best to consider other native climbing vines such as Carolina Jasmine, Coral Honeysuckle, or Trumpet Flower.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems: The vine has no serious pests or diseases. Caterpillars may eat the foliage.

Invasiveness: The Coral Vine is characterized as an aggressive weed in Micronesia, Northern Australia, and the United States. In Florida, the vine is listed as a Category II Invasive Exotic by Florida's Exotic Pest Council. Coral Vine is also included in the Global Compendium of Weeds and was classified as the most aggressive weed in the tropics. It has been classified as invasive in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Cuba, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles, Hawaii, Guam, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Album'
    White flowers, not cold hardy
  • 'Baja Red'
    Hot rose pink to red flowers--color varies from seed
'Album', 'Baja Red'
Tags:
#evergreen#deciduous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#fall flowers#semi-evergreen#pink flowers#fall interest#fast growing#vines#summer flowers#poor soils tolerant#weedy vine#sandy soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Album'
    White flowers, not cold hardy
  • 'Baja Red'
    Hot rose pink to red flowers--color varies from seed
'Album', 'Baja Red'
Tags:
#evergreen#deciduous#full sun tolerant#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#fall flowers#semi-evergreen#pink flowers#fall interest#fast growing#vines#summer flowers#poor soils tolerant#weedy vine#sandy soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Antigonon
    Species:
    leptopus
    Family:
    Polygonaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The tubers are edible.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico to Central America
    Distribution:
    Native: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Central Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, and Nicaragua; Introduced: Argentina Northwest, Aruba, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Cambodia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Galapagos, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Mozambique, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Somalia, Southwest Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zaire, and the US: FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, SC, TX,
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds, raccoons, and pigs eat the seeds and fruits. Pollinators include bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and thrips.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tolerant of hot climates and poor soils.
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    This plant produces edible tubers.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Cascading
    Climbing
    Dense
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Tendrils
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are inconspicuous achenes, cone or triangular, and measure 8-12 mm long and 4-7 mm wide. The fruit cover is shiny, dry, and hard. The Coral Vine is a prolific seed producer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    Tepals
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are axillary racemes and borne on panicles. Depending on the cultivar, the blooms may be bright coral pink, white, or red. They bloom from spring to fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Waxy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The pale green leaves are alternate, ovate, heart-shaped, and sometimes triangular. The leaves measure about 4 inches long. There are fine hairs along the leaf veins. The vines are evergreen in Zones 9-11. In cooler climates, the vines lose their leaves during the winter.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems are angled and reddish-brown. There are axillary tendrils.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Rock Wall
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy