bell vine

Ipomoea plebeia
habit climbing on a garden fence (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
growing naturally in an open eucalypt woodland (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
infestation growing in a crop (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
dense population of creeping plants (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
heart-shaped leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
hairy stem and flower in the leaf fork (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of white flower (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of flower from side-on (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
mature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
seedling with v-shaped seed leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
seedling with v-shaped seed leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
Vine
Alternate
Simple
White
Green

A short-lived creeping or climbing vine often twining up, or scrambling over, other plants. Its slender stems are covered in close-lying or spreading hairs. Its alternately arranged leaves (25-80 mm long) are usually somewhat heart-shaped in outline. Its small, bell-shaped, white flowers (9-13 mm long) are borne singly or in clusters of two or three in the leaf forks its fruit is a small papery capsule (5-7 mm long) containing four brown seeds.

Common names 
Also known as: bell vine, bellvine,
Family 
Convolvulaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Year round
Native/Exotic 
Native
Origin 
Native to large parts of northern and eastern Australia (i.e. north-western and northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern New South Wales). It is widespread throughout south-eastern Queensland, and relatively common in th
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

Possibly naturalised beyond its native range in the coastal districts of central New South Wales.

Habitat 

This species grows naturally in open woodlands, grasslands and riparian vegetation. It is an important weed of crops and is also found growing in pastures, gardens, disturbed sites and waste areas.

Habit 

A creeping (i.e. prostrate) or climbing short-lived (i.e. annual) vine often found twining up, or scrambling over, other plants.

Impact and control methods 
Stem and leaves 

The slender stems are covered in close-lying (i.e. appressed) or spreading hairs. The simple leaves are alternately arranged along the stems and borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 1-6 cm long. These leaves (25-80 mm long and 12-60 mm wide) are egg-shaped in outline (i.e. ovate) or almost triangular in shape and usually with a pronounced notched (i.e. cordate) base. They have entire margind and pointed tips (i.e. acute apices), and both leaf surface have a covering of scattered hairs (i.e. they are pilose). The seed leaves (i.e. cotyledons) are quite distinctive as they are deeply notched and form a V-shape.

Flowers and fruits 

The flowers are arranged in the leaf forks (i.e. axils) in clusters of one to three, each borne on a stalk (i.e. pedicel) 5-15 mm long. They are are white, bell-shaped or trumpet-shaped (i.e. tubular), and 9-13 mm long. Flowering occurs from summer through to autumn. The fruit is an egg-shaped (i.e. ovoid) or rounded (i.e. globular), papery, hairless, capsule containing four brown seeds. These capsules (5-7 mm long) turn from green to light brown in colour as they mature.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species reproduces mainly by seed, which are commonly spread in contaminated agricultural produce. They may also be dispersed by water movement or in contaminated soil.

Similar species 

Bellvine (Ipomoea plebeia) is very similar to cowvine (Ipomoea lonchophylla), Australian bindweed (Convolvulus erubescens) and field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). It is also reasonably similar to common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) and climbing buckwheat (Fallopia convolvulus). These species can be distinguished by the following differences: bellvine (Ipomoea plebeia) has arrowhead-shaped leaves, with heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) bases, and relatively small flowers (less than 20 mm across) that are white in colour. Its relatively large and narrow sepals (6-8 mm long) are hairy (i.e. pubescent) and have pointed tips cowvine (Ipomoea lonchophylla) has relatively elongated leaves, with slightly heart-shaped (i.e. cordate) bases, and relatively small flowers (less than 20 mm across) that are white in colour. Its relatively large and narrow sepals (8-10 mm long) are hairy (i.e. pubescent) and have pointed tips Australian bindweed (Convolvulus erubescens) usually has relatively elongated leaves, often with very lobed or divided bases, and relatively small flowers (10-20 mm across) that are pink or white in colour. Its relatively small sepals (4-6 mm long) are usually somewhat hairy (i.e. pubescent) and have pointed tips field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) has arrowhead-shaped leaves and moderately-sized flowers (15-30 mm across) that are usually white to pale pink in colour. Its relatively small sepals (3-5 mm long) are hairless (i.e. glabrous) and have rounded tips common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) has large, broad, heart-shaped or three-lobed leaves and large flowers (30-60 mm across) that are white, pink, red, purple or bluish-purple in colour. Its long and very narrow sepals (10-20 mm long) are hairy (i.e. pubescent) and have pointed tips climbing buckwheat (Fallopia convolvulus) has arrow-shaped leaves and small, inconspicuous, flowers (less than 5 mm across) that are whitish or greenish in colour. It does not have any obvious sepals and its fruit are small (less than 4 mm long), triangular in cross-section (i.e. trigonous), and black in colour.