T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cardiospermum halicacabum (Small balloon vine)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Sapindoideae
Genus: Cardiospermum
Species: C. halicacabum
Binomial name: Cardiospermum halicacabum
Common names: Small balloon vine, Love in a puff,

Cardiospermum halicacabum is a climbing plant widely distributed in tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia. In New Zealand it is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord which identifies pest plants that are prohibited from sale, and commercial propagation and distribution. This species does not yet occur in the wild of New Zealand, but has the potential to become a serious problem as it is a vine that will climb over and smother other plants. Any sightings should be reported to your Regional Council immediately.

This is a smaller version of balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum), growing up to 3 m high. Each leaf has three coarsely toothed leaflets. The flowers are minute (3 mm across) and greenish-white in colour. Flowers are followed by 2 cm papery inflated fruits like a three-sided balloon containing black seeds, each with a pale a heart-shaped hilum. This is the seeds point of attachment to its seed capsule. The stalk of the flowerhead ends in a pair of tendrils.





The small flowers.


Two ripe seed balloons. One has split showing one seed in its own cell. Notice green unripeballoons behind


The seed balloon cut open to show its three black seeds.


The seeds each with a pale a heart-shaped hilum