Railroad vines bloom along South Walton beaches

September 22, 2011

Railroad vine blooms near public access at Blue Mountain Beach. Lori Ceier/Walton OutdoorsBeautiful plant strengthens sand dunes

Always a pleasant sight along our beaches, the beautiful blooming railroad vine is also an important protector of our sand dunes. As with the sea oats, the plant helps to stabilize the dunes by rooting at nodes all along its length, and is often planted for that purpose.

Each flower opens only once, in the morning, but keep blooming almost all year long, peaking from May through November.

The railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae) is native and part of the morning glory family. It is an herbaceous vine that grows wild on ocean shores from Florida to Texas and Georgia.

They open in the early morning and close before noon each day that the plant is in bloom. Small, round seedpods that contain four velvety, dark brown seeds appear on this plant after flowering.

Other common names: beach morning glory, goat’s foot vine