Convolvulus angustissimus

Distribution Map
Family: Convolvulaceae
Distribution: Widespread in all Australian states except the Northern Territory, usually in woodland and grassland.
Common Name: Australian Bindweed
Derivation of Name: Convolvulus...From Latin convolvere, to twine around, a reference to the growth habit of most species.
angustissimus...From Latin angust, narrow, and the suffix issimus, to the greatest degree, possibly referring to the shape of the leaves in the type form.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Convolvulus is a genus of over 200 species which are distributed widely in many parts of the world. They are mainly climbing or twining species but there are some that have a shrubby habit of growth. The plant family Convolvulaceae includes several invasive weed species including Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) and Ipomoea indica (Morning Glory).

Convolvulus angustissimus is a trailing or creeping plant comprising four recognised subspecies: subsp. angustissimus, subsp. fililobus, subsp. omnigracilis and subsp. peninsularum. The differences between the subspecies can be subtle and difficult for the non-botanist to determine.

The form typically available for horticulture is a perennial trailing plant reaching about 0.1 metres high by a spread of about 1.5 metres. The leaves are narrowly oblong to about 60 mm x 15 mm. The circular, pink flowers are about 20-25 mm diameter and have a shallow, funnel shape. They occur mainly in spring to summer but can be found at other times of the year. Like most members of the Convolvulaceae, the individual flowers last only a single day.

Convolvulus angustissimus
Convolvulus angustissimus
Photo: Brian Walters

The plant has not been widely cultivated but seems to be attracting more attention recently under the cultivar name 'Pink Sapphire'. It appears to be a useful groundcover which is unlikely to become a nuisance by twining among other plants. It's longevity in cultivation is not known at this stage. It should tolerate most reasonably drained soils and should be an excellent plant for growing in containers, including hanging baskets.

Propagation can be carried out from seed but the hard seed coat needs to be carefully nicked with a knife to expose the embryo and enable successful germination. Cuttings of firm, current season's growth strike readily.

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