Beach Morning Glory

Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis / Pōhuehue

"Pes" means "foot" and "caprae" means "goat" referring to the shape of the leaf, which is unlike any other Morning Glory species

Pōhuehue is a native indigenous plant. Pōhuehue is a member of the morning glory family. Pōhuehue is a shrub with spreading stems that travel along the ground. The vines are strong and flexible. The leaves are thick and waxy feeling. They are two to three inches long and oval shaped. The flowers are pink and shaped like a bell with a small fruit inside with four seeds. Pōhuehue grows well on sandy beaches. At Kīlauea Point, Pōhuehue is not very common, but can be seen among the Naupaka in places. It is also known as the flower of Lana‘i.

The young leaf buds of Pōhuehue are eaten by pregnant women to ease delivery. The long roots and vines are cooked as a famine food, but Pōhuehue can be poisonous in large quantities. The vines were used on occasion for cordage and for fishing seine (hukilau). The vines are also used to improve surf conditions by slapping them on the water. Surf riders whip the waves with the vine and chant:

Arise, arise ye great surfers from Kahiki
The powerful curling waves
Arise with the Pōhuehue
Well up, long raging surf

Facts About Beach Morning Glory

In Hawaiʻi

Pōhuehue is a native indigenous plant and is a member of the morning glory family. The vine was mashed and commonly used for sprains, bound to injured limb by kapa bandage. Kapa is a fabric that was made by Native Hawaiians from the bast fibers of certain species of trees and shrubs.

On The Refuge

“At Kīlauea Point, Pōhuehue is not very common, but can be seen among the Naupaka in places.” 


Pōhuehue is a great plant for beach front properties, and sandy, rocky, salt-spray or windy locations and provides erosion control. This plant has small pink to lavender flowers with purple centers. A white flowered form is known from Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.