Herb: Bush Moon Flower

Latin name: Ipomoea leptophylla

Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning-glory Family)

Medicinal use of Bush Moon Flower:

This plant was used as a cardiac stimulant by some native North American Indian tribes. An infusion of the staminate cones has been used as a stomach tonic. The root has been scraped and eaten raw as a treatment for stomach troubles. The pulverized root has been dusted onto the body as a dressing to ease pain.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Plains and dry banks, especially on sandy shores.

Edible parts of Bush Moon Flower:

Root - raw or cooked. Crisp, sweet and tender. Some reports suggest that the root is not very nice and was only used when nothing else was available, this is probably because old roots were tried. Roots should be no more than 3 years old, preferably only 2. The roots can be up to 1.2 metres long and weigh 11 kilos. This report almost certainly refers to roots older than 3 years.

Other uses of the herb:

Some native North American Indian tribes would use the root to store fire in the days before matches. They would start a fire in the root, wrap it up and hang it outside. It was said that the fire would keep for seven months.

Propagation of Bush Moon Flower:

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water, or scarify the seed, and sow in individual pots in a greenhouse in early spring. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 weeks at 22C. Plants are extremely resentful of root disturbance, even when they are quite small, and should be potted up almost as soon as they germinate. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of side shoots in a peaty soil. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Plains and dry banks, especially on sandy shores.

Known hazards of Ipomoea leptophylla:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.