Coral Vine

Scientific name:  Antigonon leptopus



Antigonon leptopus was prepared for consumption by the aboriginal inhabitants of Baja California in a way somewhat reminiscent of preparing popcorn. The seeds were toasted by placing them in a flat basket made of flexible twigs torn into strips and woven to make a solid surface. Live coals were placed on top of the seeds, and with both hands the basket was shaken so that the coals came up against the seeds, toasting them, but not burning the basket. When the toasting was finished, the burned-out coals were removed. Using this method, a major portion of the seeds burst open, exposing a white meal. Afterwards, the seeds were separated from the husks from which they had emerged by dextrously being tossed into the air with the basket, in the same way, that wheat is winnowed in Spain. The seeds were then grounded and the resulting meal was eaten. Alternatively, the seeds could be boiled and made into fried cakes.


leptopusis also used in traditional medicine in the West Indies and Central America. For example, tea prepared from the leaves, aerial parts, and flowers of A. leptopusis used as a remedy for cold, throat constriction, and pain relief in countries such as Jamaica, St. Lucia, Mexico, and Trinidad-Tobago (Mulabagal et al, 2011; Graveson, 2012).


leptopusis commonly planted as an ornamental in gardens and yards and as a “fence cover plant” in warm climates in tropical and subtropical regions. It is also used as a nectar source for honey production (Burke and DiTommaso, 2011). 

Country of origin:

leptopus was introduced in the Caribbean region by at least the mid-nineteenth century (Grisebach, 1864)

Time to harvest

Root anytime they are large enough to harvest, often deep. Blossom when in season, in warm areas nearly year round, in cooler areas until frost (Deane, 2012). It takes coral vines between 21 and 30 days to germinate and emerge from the soil (Gerard, 2011).

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