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Little Lanterns Cardiospermum halicacabum

Phonetic Spelling
kar-dee-oh-SPER-mum hal-ee-KAY-ka-bum
Description

Native to tropical locations, the Balloon Vine can be found creeping and climbing its way on or along anything that gets in its way in moist thickets, open grounds, grasslands, scrublands, along roadsides, waste locations, riverbanks and other disturbed sites 

It was introduced in the southern and southeastern US where it is considered a noxious weed.  Its growth habit can smother and kill native vegetation.  To control its spread, pinch off the new growth.

Its common name, Heart-seed comes from the words cardio, referring to the heart and sperma, translating to seed.  When ripened, the black seeds have a white heart-shaped pattern.  Halicacabum is a Latin word for a plant with inflated fruits.  

It serves as a host plant for the caterpillars of several varieties of tropical American butterflies.  Hairstreaks lay eggs on the young fruits.  After hatching, the caterpillars feed on the seeds and pupate inside the capsules.  Miami Blue caterpillars feed on the flower buds.

The edible leaves and stems can be used as a herb or spice as well as a vegetable.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids and whiteflies are occasional visitors.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#weedy#climbing#tendrils#woody#wasps#high maintenance#salt spray tolerant#herbaceous#creeping#climbing vines#woody vine#herbaceous perennials#long lifespan#edible leaves#poor soils tolerant#herbaceous annual#edible stems#weedy vine#dry soils tolerant#vine#flies#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#host plant#forage#shade intolerant#edible#butterflies#butterfly#climber
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#weedy#climbing#tendrils#woody#wasps#high maintenance#salt spray tolerant#herbaceous#creeping#climbing vines#woody vine#herbaceous perennials#long lifespan#edible leaves#poor soils tolerant#herbaceous annual#edible stems#weedy vine#dry soils tolerant#vine#flies#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#host plant#forage#shade intolerant#edible#butterflies#butterfly#climber
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cardiospermum
    Species:
    halicacabum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    It can be used to create a screen or barrier.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Bulb
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropics & Subtropics, Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, wasps, butterflies and flies visit the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Screening
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wind Break
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    The leaves and stems are edible.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • 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)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The papery, light green seed pods grow to up to 1.10", they mature to brown. They are inflated, 3-chambered, thin-shelled capsules. Each will contain 3 smooth, black seeds with a white heart shaped marking.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The small, three-sided white flowers grow to just over an inch.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Papery
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The deeply cut leaves are faintly pubescent with pinnate venation.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Young stems may have fine hairs. The stems have many branches with forked axillary tendrils that the plant uses to climb.
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Salt
    Problems:
    Weedy