This vine is capable of growing to
lengths of up to a hundred feet, but rarely ever makes it past a
height of only a few inches. Its leaves are alternate, and can reach
a length of 10 m, or so. Its fleshy, glossy leaves are rounded,
without teeth, and are often folded on the middle vein. A notch is
often found at the apex of the leaf, possibly causing Linnaeus to
refer to the plant as, "goat's foot." Its roots can reach lengths of
up to 1.3 meters long, with a 6 cm. diameter, and can be found at
the nodes of the vine. A Goat's foot's stem is free branching, often
having a diameter of 1.5 cm. Flowers on the vine can be pink or
purple, and average a length of 5 cm.
Many members of the Convolvulaceae family are used shamanically,
medicinally and for divination purposes (for example, Rivea
corymbosa, Stictocardia tiliifolia and Ipomoea violacea). Ipomoea
batatas (Sweet Potato) is a family member used for food production.
I. costata is a native whose tubers were an important food source
It is likely that the seeds possess some psychoactivity, one report
mentions 0.009% Ergoline alkaloids, mainly ergonovine.
Other uses of the vine includes: roots cooked and eaten, heated
leaves useful for marine stings and a leaf decoction used for
Care and cultivation Seeds should be slightly nicked away from the
embryo and soaked in water overnight to speed germination. Likes
adequate water and a full-sun to part-shade position in well drained
sandy soil. Quite tolerant of salt, dry and hot conditions.