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Water Spinach

Water SpinachScientific name: Ipomoea aquatica Forssk.

Common names: Water spinach, swamp morning glory

Click image to enlarge

Native To: Asia (Lee 1998)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1970s (Langeland and Burks 2000)

Means of Introduction: Horticultural escape (Lee 1998)

Impact: Crowds out native species (Lee 1998)

Current U.S. Distribution:

Federally Regulated:

  • Listed as a Federal Noxious Weed under the Plant Protection Act, which makes it illegal in the U.S. to import or transport between States without a permit (USDA, APHIS - Noxious Weeds Program)



  • Water Spinach (or select Play button below)
    University of Florida. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. (YouTube).

Selected Internet Resources:

Federal Government

Ipomoea aquatica Forsk. (Water Spinach) - Aquatic Plant Information System (APIS)
DOD. USACE. Engineer Research and Development Center. Environmental Laboratory.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Ipomoea aquatica
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Handle This Spinach With Care (Jun 1998)
USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Dispersion; Controls

Ipomoea aquatica Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (resources)

Ipomoea aquatica - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.
Taxonomy; Legal Aspects

Ipomoea aquatica - Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Habitat; Distribution

PLANTS Database - Swamp Morning-Glory
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.
Taxonomy; Illustrations; Distribution; Legal Aspects

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State Government

Weed of the Month: Ipomoea aquatica, water spinach (Mar 2010)
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Division of Plant Industry.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Distribution; Dispersion; Legal Aspects

Water-spinach - Weed Alert (PDF | 302 KB)
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts

Risk Assessment for Chinese Water Spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) in Oregon (May 2003; PDF | 204 KB)
Oregon Invasive Species Council.
Identification/Description; Illustrations; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution

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State Government

Water spinach
University of Florida. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution

Ipomoea aquatica (PDF | 83 KB)
University of Florida. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution

Swamp Morning Glory - Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution

Water Spinach (Ipomoea aquatica, Convolvulaceae): A Food Gone Wild (PDF | 1 MB)
University of Hawai'i at Manoa.
Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Dispersion

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Ipomoea aquatica - Invasive Species Compendium
Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

Ipomoea aquatica (vine, climber) - ISSG Global Invasive Species Database
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

Invasive Alien Species: Ipomoea aquatica Forssk (PDF | 22 KB)
Environmental Council of Zambia.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Impacts; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

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Water spinach, swamp morning-glory
Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution; Controls

Ipomoea aquatica
Missouri Botanical Garden.
Identification/Description; Impacts; Habitat; Legal Aspects

Ipomoea aquatica
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Distribution

Ipomoea aquatica
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls; Special Note: References


Langeland, K.A. and K.C. Burks. 2000. Ipomoea aquatica (PDF | 82 KB) In: Identification and Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. Gainesville: University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, p. 70-71.

Lee, J. 1998. Handle this spinach with care. Agricultural Research 46(6):26.

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Last Modified: Jul 01, 2014
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