Ipomoea macrorhiza - Michaux
Convulvulaceae (Morning Glory) Family
Photo by Ian Vickery, Brewton, Al.
Big Root Morning Glory is also known as Purple Moon Flower and Lavender Moonvine.
The plant is a perennial that shares numerous characteristics with other morning glories including twining vines, funnel-shaped flowers, heart-shaped or palmate leaves, and an enlarged root, like its sister plant, the Wild Potato Vine. The taproot is deep. Reproduction is by seeds and creeping roots. Its preferred habitat is open woods, roadsides, fence rows, waste places, and abandoned gardens. Distribution in the Escambia region is occasional.
The leaves are alternate on the stem, 2- to 6 inches long, and heart-shaped. The sides frequently contract giving the leaf a fiddle-like shape. The leaves are attached to the stems by way of long petioles. Leaves are hairy or may be smooth. The leaf stalk is usually hairless.
The fowers are funnel-shaped, 2- to 3 inches across, white or pale purple, with pinkish-purple stripes radiating from the center. Flowers form either in few- or several-flowered clusters at the end of stalks arising from the stem at the leaf axils. Flower stalks exude a milky sap if broken or crushed. Each flower is bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form. Flowers occur at the end of summer and early autumn.
Fruit is an egg-shaped capsule that contains 2 to 6 red-brown seeds that may be flattened or oval, and covered with soft white hairs.