Coral vine antigonon leptopus

Scientific name

Henderson, L. (2001). Alien weeds and invasive plants. A complete guide to declared weeds and invaders in South Africa. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12, 300pp. PPR, ARC South Africa.

USDA Plants Profile. Antigonon leptopus Hook. & Arn. Coral vine. Plants Profile, The Plants Database. National Plant Data Center, National Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. Accessed March 2011.


Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat – UK.


This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) – Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).


BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: [email protected]

Love vine: A native parasite plant that slowly squeezes life out of its host


There are plants which, like the vampires of Halloween legend, suck the “blood” of other plants.

Parasitic plants take nutrients and water from other plants by extracting them from their host through root-like structures thrust into the stems, branches, and sometimes leaves.

There is a native parasitic plant which causes gardeners to scream and landscape maintenance personnel to pull their hair out. It goes by the common name, love vine. Cassytha filiformis is the scientific name and it is commonly found in Central and South Florida, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Other common names include Devil’s Gut and Witches Hair which evoke images of Halloween.

Love vine grows in dry areas, particularly scrub habitat. It is a parasitic vine, stems twining with very small leaves appearing as spirally-arranged scales. As a parasitic plant, it is dependent on a host plant for survival, however stems do occasional produce some chlorophyll depending on the season and condition of the host plant.

The love vine stems are thick, hair-like, and yellow to orange, occasionally green. They twine around the host plants leaves, stems, branches or trunks, and produce haustoria which are root-like projections which penetrate the host plant and absorb water and nutrients for growth.

Love Vine is a higher plant that produces flowers and seeds. The flowers are white. The fruit are black when dry, a one-seeded drupe (stone fruit) with a very hard seed coat. Plant size is dependent on climate and host plant health. However, whole host plants can be covered. This lovey little parasite will grow in shade and sun locations.

Love vine infests native plants, ornamental plants, and agricultural crops. Like Dodder, it is a plant pest and effects the movement or prevents the sale of agricultural products such as alfalfa hay or ornamental plants.

Love vine seeds are spread by animals, water, but mostly by human activities through the movement of plants and soil. Large quantities of seed are produced and can survive for many years in the soil until proper conditions exist for growth. Infestation rarely causes death of the host plant, but does weaken the plant and may render the plant unusable for human activities.

Control in the landscape can be difficult. If the seedlings are detected before or soon after attachment to the host, they are easy to remove by mechanical means.

Here in South Florida, love vine seems to grow most of the year with a slight slowing in the winter. However, once established on the host plant, control is difficult.

If found in the landscape, cut the vine often to prevent flowering and prune any infested plant parts to remove the parasite. These procedures may eventually suppress or eliminate love vine, but it can be a long process. Unfortunately, the quickest and most efficient control is removing the infested plant from the landscape to prevent its spread to other plants.

Keep and eye out this week for vampires, those searching for treats and those searching to suck the life from plants.

Carol Cloud Bailey is a Landscape Counselor & Horticulturist. Send questions to [email protected] or visit for more information.

Antigonon leptopus

Category: Climbers, Creepers & Vines Family: Polygonaceae Light: Sun growing, Semi shade Water: Normal, Can tolerate less, Can tolerate more Primarily grown for: Flowers Flowering season: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November Flower or Inflorescence color: Purple Foliage color: Green Plant Height or length: 6 to 8 meters Plant Form: Climbing or growing on support Special Character:

  • Good for screening
  • Can grow on trellis or chain link fencing
  • Attracts birds
  • Attracts butterflies
  • Attracts bees

Generally available in India in quantities of: Less than a hundred Plant Description: – Originally from the forests of Tropical America.
– The name is derived from greek and probably refers to the kneel or angled character of the stem which is slender, green, hairy, angled and grooved.
– Leaves alternate, cordate – ovate- 8-14 cm long, almost smooth, netted with veins, wavy on the margins, vein pattern prominent.
– Flowers arise on axillary or terminal raceme sepals 5, rosy red, the outer ones broadly oval, about 1.5 cm long and the inner 2 narrower and smaller.
– The vive is a tuberous rooted, quick growing climber.
– Was popularised in India by the British and widely planted in the Cantonments. A very good example is the pune cantonment – where it still is the most widely seen climber during monsoon. And not because the bungalow owners take care – because the British planted it. Entire vines go into dormany in winter and sprout back with the onset of monsoon.

– Vines do not go into dormancy in areas where winters are not too severe and plants get constant irrigation. Growing tips: – Grown in the garden mainly for the purpose of screening.
– It produces numerous flowers starting from the hot monthus till the begining of winter.
– It has to be cleaned and pruned one or two in a year to keep the growth under control.
– A pretty climber that should be used more in modern landscapes.
– It is very easy to grow and will establish in any kind of soil.
– Climbs quickly and spreads evenly on any support.
– The masses of color in overcast monsoon skies cast a magical spell on onlookers. Generally available with us at: Tukai Exotics

Plant a ‘Venal Poovalli’ to breathe pure air

In a time when pollution is one of the threatening menace for the city dwellers, a beautiful flower from Mexico can come to the rescue of us.

Known as coral vine, coral creeper, chain of love, love vine, queen’s jewels and Mexican creeper, the flowering vine is scientifically named as Antigonon leptopus.

The flower vine grows and blooms well in Kerala. It is called ‘Venal Poovalli’ or ‘Then Poovalli’ in Malayalam. The major characteristic of the plant is its long life. The vine grows upto a height of 10-12 metres.

Photo courtesy: WikiCommons

The flowers are commonly pink, red and white in colour. The heart-shaped green leaves of the plant is another attraction. The plant blooms in summer and require sunlight to flourish.

In order to grow coral vine easily, collect its sprouted tuber and replant it. The tuber is found deep underground and has to be carefully removed.

Planting stem cuttings or sowing seeds also can be tried. to grow the plant in flower pots, fill it with soil, sand and leaf powder in 2:1:1 ratio.

Photo courtesy: WikiCommons

As the flowers contain high amount of pollen grains and honey, it is always surrounded by bees and butterflies. So, honeybee farmers seem to plant coral vine aplenty to attract the bees.

Coral vine plant is capable of purifying the air and thus reduces air pollution. So, the city dwellers are advised to plant this flower in their garden for a pleasing and healthy atmosphere.

Photo courtesy: WikiCommons

I suspect most of you have noticed the hot pink flowers cascading over fences all over town. It’s what we fondly call Coral Vine-Antigonon leptopus. It is the prettiest vine I have ever seen and surely the easiest vine to grow. I have wanted one for many years and last year finally planted one near our courtyard fence. It was not too impressive last fall. I found myself thinking there’s got to be some secret to getting them to look so beautiful. So I waited, and this year it did not disappoint! The entire top rail of our fence is covered with brilliant green hearts and rosy pink flowers hanging down like grape clusters. Every morning it is filled with honeybees and hummingbirds and butterflies. Coral vine is unnoticeably common most of the year; lying dormant during the winter, then resembling a pretty weed-vine you might find growing in an alleyway or up a telephone pole. It is that vigorous and grows quite rapidly during summer.

They need some to most sun with well drained soil. They are very drought tolerant once established. They are a true vine with tendrils so they need something to grow on; a fence, trellis, another plant. There is a new variety called fandango that has more brilliant flowers…hard to imagine but they are! We have them in stock now!


Coral Vine Plant

The Coral Vine Plant – (Antigonon leptopus) Is a fast growing vine that does well in the southwest part of the U.S. The leaves are heart-shaped and fast-growing twigs that can easily climb fences, trellis, and arbors.

The Coral Vine plant will attract butterflies, bees, and birds no matter where you live.

During late spring and early fall, you can see these vines blooming throughout the southwest valley region.

Plant them on a full or partial sun wall or fence and they will grow into a gorgeous vine. They will go dormant during the winter seasons. Except for non-freezing zones. A good place is on a south or west-facing wall where there is ample room for it to grow. Not a good idea to plant around other ornamental vines or plants.

Lookup your zone area right here. Your Plant Hardiness zone area. It will grow up to 40 ft. wide so give it plenty of room to grow.

Coral Vine is native to Mexico and thrives in hot dry climates but does better if watered more often. It does tolerate poor soil but does better with well-composted soil.

This vine is an invasive species and I would think twice before planting it around other wanted plants such as roses, geraniums, and other plants that are susceptible to invasive vines. The seeds spread and germinate quickly.

The Coral Vine Plant in downtown Las Cruces.

Fertilize lightly during the flowering season usually late summer early fall. A very hardy vine that is not susceptible to diseases or insects. However, sometimes aphids and mealybugs will attack this vine. Follow this link for further information. Insects and diseases on plants.

It goes by numerous names.

  1. Miguelito
  2. San Miguelitos
  3. Queen’s Wreath
  4. Mexican Creeper
  5. The Bee’s Bush

Closeup of Coral Vine Plant

Beautiful dark pink lacy flowers. The Coral Vine Plant blooms from mid-summer till late fall. Image by Axelle Spencer from

Looking for Vines for the Southwest.

Fast Growing Vines for Fences.

Queen’s Wreath, Coral Vine

Antigonon leptopus

Queen’s wreath, also known as coral vine, is a beautiful, sun-loving vine that can also take a little shade.

A great addition to any wall or trellis, it can easily spread to 20 feet wide and, with good support, twice as high. You might spot it even climbing up telephone poles or other urban structures!

It grows very quickly, making it a nice choice to cover up a bare wall or block an unsightly view. But this rapid growth can be challenging to keep in check, so coral vine is sometimes labeled aggressive, and is best avoided in landscapes adjacent to natural areas.

Because of its rambling habit, Queen’s wreath should be given plenty of space to roam. Although it may be deciduous in warmer winters, it’s more often perennial in Central Texas.

Because it grows so rapidly, shearing it to the ground in winter is recommended. In cold winters, it will naturally freeze back, but will return after cutting.

It will very quickly emerge from underground tubers in the spring, and will be back to its full stature in almost no time. Although you should prune to shape it and keep it in bounds, heavy pruning will remove the flower buds, and believe me, you don’t want to rob yourself of the show-stopping floral display in late summer.

The relatively large, light green, heart-shaped leaves are also quite pretty, but when queen’s wreath is in full bloom, you likely won’t even notice that it has any leaves at all! Flowers are normally rosy pink, but light pink and white varieties may also be found.

Bees and butterflies will also flock to its late summer to fall flowers.

A native to Mexico, coral vine is often found in heirloom gardens in the Gulf South, and the white flowering variety looks especially striking when planted alongside red roses. Trellised or arbored climbing roses can also serve as support for queen’s wreath vine, creating a stunning combination that makes a bold statement in any garden. This vigorous vine is also very drought tolerant, thriving just fine on once a week irrigation during the driest, hottest of times.



  • Drought Resistant Plants
  • +

  • Flowering
  • +

  • Garden Design
  • +

  • Perennials
  • +

  • Vine
  • +

  • Wildlife Plants and Habitat

What Is A Coral Vine – How To Grow Coral Vines In The Garden

Coral vines can be pretty additions to the landscape in suitable locations, but there are some things you should consider beforehand if you’re interested in growing them. Read on to learn how to grow coral vines (and when you shouldn’t).

What is a Coral Vine?

Also known as Mexican creeper, chain of love or queen’s wreath vine, coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) is a fast-growing tropical vine that grows in the warm climates of USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 11. The plant usually freezes in chillier zone 8, but regrows readily in spring.

Native to Mexico, coral vine is a vigorous vine with showy, dark rose, white or pink flowers and big, heart-shaped leaves. When grown on a trellis or arbor, coral vine is dense enough to provide shade on a hot day. Coral vines can reach up to 40 feet (12 m.), often growing 8 to 10 feet in a single season.

Coral Vine Information

Note on coral vine invasiveness. Before you get too excited about growing coral vines in your garden, be aware that this fast-growing vine is invasive in some parts of the world, especially the extreme southern United States and the Pacific Islands.

Once coral vine is established, it spreads quickly from underground tubers, smothering other plants and crawling over fences and other structures. Additionally, the plant is a prolific self-seeder and the seeds are spread far and wide by water, birds and wildlife.

If you aren’t sure about coral vine invasiveness in your area, check with you local cooperative extension office before planting.

How to Grow Coral Vines

Growing coral vines is an easy endeavor. You can propagate coral vine by seeds or divide a mature plant.

The plant is adaptable to nearly any well-drained soil. Coral vine thrives in full sunlight but tolerates partial shade.

Give coral vine plenty of room to spread. Additionally, coral vine climbs by way of tendrils, so be sure to provide a trellis or other sturdy support.

Coral Vine Care

Water coral vine regularly during the first growing season to get the plant off to a good start. Thereafter, coral vine is relatively drought tolerant and requires only occasional irrigation. Once weekly during hot, dry weather is generally plenty.

Coral vine normally needs no fertilizer, but you can provide a general-purpose fertilizer once or twice during the growing season if growth appears weak.

Prune coral vine every year in late winter or early spring to keep the size in check, then trim as needed throughout the year. Alternatively, just shear the plant to the ground in spring. It will bounce back in no time at all. – Home

Go Back | Printer Friendly Fact Sheet
Federal Noxious Weed
TDA Noxious Weed
TPWD Prohibited Exotic Species
Invasive Plant Atlas of the US
NOTE: means species is on that list.

Coral vine

Synonym(s): Mexican coral vine, Mexican creeper, confederate vine, queen’s wreath, Corculum leptopum,
Family: Polygonaceae
Duration and Habit: Perennial Vine

Photographer: Patricia M. Ciesla


Antigonon leptopus is a rapidly growing vine that can grow to 25 feet in length. It grabs hold with tendrils and climbs. Coral vines has leaves that are cordate (heart shaped), sometimes triangular. The leaves are 2½ to 7½ cm long. The flowers are pink to white and are borne in panicles, clustered along the rachis. The coral vine blooms from spring to fall. Coral vine forms underground tubers and large rootstocks.

Native Lookalikes: Currently no information available here yet, or there are no native Texas species that could be confused with Coral vine.

Ecological Threat: This vine spreads rapidly and can be weedy or invasive. Coral vine is a landscape, ornamental plant used for its climbing habit for fences and trellises. The coral vine spreads rapidly and can grow in poor soil and little sunlight, allowing it to flourish in areas that other plants can not. This plant spread by prolific seeding as well as underground tubers that will re-sprout. Coral vine will quickly cover forest edges and disturbed ground, climbing and covering structures and nearby plants, many of them native. This makes coral vine a successful invasive species.

Biology & Spread: Antigonon leptopus is a prolific seeder, but has many methods of reproduction. Seeds are able to float on water, which can spread the vine to many different areas. Fruit and seeds are spread by many animals, such as birds, raccoons, and pigs. When coral vine is cut back or damaged by frost or other environmental harm, the underground tubers can re-sprout, allowing the vine to spread further.

History: Coral vine is native to Mexico. It was introduced pre-1924 to the southeast and gulf regions of the United States as an ornamental, landscape plant.

U.S. Habitat: Landscaped climbing, ornamental vine. Can grow in poor soils and varied light conditions. Grows well in disturbed soils, and at forest edge.


U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.

Native Origin: Mexico

U.S. Present: AL, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, SC, TX

Distribution: Continental U.S. and Hawaii. Present in Texas.


Invaders of Texas Map: Antigonon leptopus
EDDMapS: Antigonon leptopus
USDA Plants Texas County Map: Antigonon leptopus

Invaders of Texas Observations

List All Observations of Antigonon leptopus reported by Citizen Scientists

Native Alternatives


Manual & Mechanical: The first step is preventative control of coral vine. By limiting planting and removing existing plants within the landscape, coral vine can be controlled. If possible, removal should occur before seeds are produced. Care must be exercised to prevent seed spread and dispersal during the removal process. Continuous cutting will be effective in depleting food reserves, but this process will take several cycles. If plants are physically removed, underground tubers must be removed or plants will re-sprout. Biological: Chemical: According to the University of Guam’s Cooperative Extension Service, where coral vine is highly invasive, there are no herbicides registered for the use on coral vine. There is limited research and data on chemical control of coral vine. Spot treatment with glyphosate or triclopyr is the best recommendation at this point in time.


Text References

Online Resources

Search Online

Google Search: Antigonon leptopus
Google Images: Antigonon leptopus
NatureServe Explorer: Antigonon leptopus
USDA Plants: Antigonon leptopus
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Antigonon leptopus
Bugwood Network Images: Antigonon leptopus

Last Updated: 2013-12-30 by Kathryn D’Amico

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *