Pōhuehue - Beach Morning Glory - Maui Ocean Center
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Pōhuehue – Beach Morning Glory


Common name: Beach Morning Glory

Scientific name: Ipomoea pes-caprae

Where to Find: Coastal deserts, Sand dunes near beaches 

Status: Indigenous

This coastal plant thrives in dry, windy, salty and sandy conditions, making it an excellent option for erosion control in beach environments. In Hawaiʻi, nearly every part of this plant could be used for different purposes. Young leaf buds were eaten to hasten childbirth, leaves and roots could be made into a poultice to heal wounds, and the vines could be twisted into cordage to use in a pinch. 

Pōhuehue is often seen growing in conjunction with kaunaoa, an orange spaghetti-like vine that grows atop the plant. Although the relationship is parasitic (kaunaoa relies on its host species for nutrients), it does not detrimentally affect the host plant and the two are able to exist in harmony. 

Did You Know?
Slapping pōhuehue atop the surface of the ocean is said to stir up the water and increase wave action for surfers.