Railroad vines help protect South Walton beaches

July 22, 2009

Railroad vine blooms near Blue Mountain Beach.
Railroad vine blooms near Blue Mountain Beach.

Beautiful summer plant strengthens sand dunes

Always a pleasant sight along our sand dunes, 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 is native and part of the Convolvulaceae (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.
General Information:
Scientific name: Ipomoea pes-caprae
Common name(s): railroad vine, beach morning glory, goat’s foot vine

Railroad vines can run as long as 100 ft.