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Kang Kong - Ipomoea aquatica

Kang Kong is an aquatic weed species recently discovered on the Gold Coast.

Kang Kong - Ipomoea aquatica

Kang Kong - Ipomoea aquatica Click to enlarge

City of Gold Coast staff have identified Ipomoea aquatica within the Coombabah wetlands and Robina Lakes. Commonly know as Kang Kong, the species is native to China and is considered highly invasive. Its known introduced range include Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Islands and South America. It is a popular and common vegetable in many parts of south-east Asia.

The plant is a trailing vine with milky sap. The stems are hollow and grow three metres long or more. The flowers comprise a showy, funnel form like morning-glory blooms. Petals are white to pink-lilac.

The plant forms dense floating mats over the surface of water bodies, such as lakes, ponds, marshes, river edges, wetlands, canals and ditches. It is found in freshwater aquatic habitats that have very moist soils, such as muddy banks along streams and in still to flowing water. Kang Kong out-competes and replaces native plants and has the potential to become widely established within the city.

The plant can be rapidly spread by watercraft and water flows through the transport of plant fragments and via its floating seeds.

Residents wishing to cultivate this plant are encouraged to plant in containers and not plant Kang Kong in natural or constructed waterways.

If you find a plant in a waterway that resembles the characteristics of Ipomoea aquatica, please contact us immediately on 1300 GOLD COAST or 07 5582 8211.


Global Invasive Species Database (2006), Ipomoea aquatica (vine, climber). Accessed 16 May 2013

NSW Department of Primary Industries (nd), Kang Kong Ipomoea aquatica. Accessed 16 May 2013

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