- History and Culture
I. alba is a species of night-blooming morning glory that is native to the tropical Americas. It is a perennial herbaceous liana which can grow up to 30 meters tall. It has twining stems and bright green oval to heart-shaped leaves that measure between 5 to 15 centimetres. The species bears fragrant trumpet shaped white or pink flowers which open in the evening and remain open throughout the night until the morning sun.
The moonflower liana is present in forests, woodlands, waste areas, river banks, wetlands and coastal areas. In Mauritius it is found along river banks. The colourful flowers of the liana attract butterflies, especially moth.
The species is widespread in its native and introduced range. Although it is an exotic species, no specific population control measure is undertaken for I. alba.
The sap of the moon vine was used for the vulcanization of latex of the Panama rubber tree to produce rubber; with I. alba often found growing on the latter. The rubber was used to manufacture balls used in a Mesoamerican ballgame, as early as 1600 BCE.