CONVOLVULACEAE (Morning Glory) - Wildflowers of the Escambia

World wide there are about 50 genera and over 1,400 species of Morning Glory, mostly in temperate and tropical regions. Morning Glory refers to two families; Convolvulus or Ipomoea. Convolvulus has many noxious weeds; Ipomoea also has weeds but some species are cultivated for the flowers and one for its food value - the sweet potato. There are no morning glory trees in the Escambia region but a shrub does exist, which thus far is treated primarily as an ornamental; Ipomoea cornea.

Extracts from this family of plants has also been used extensively in the development of medicines. It climbs fences, grace shrubs, feed us and still finds room to give us a world-class drug that has probably touched every family in some way - the treatment of arthritis.


Scarlet Cypress Vine
(I. quamoclit)

White Cypress Vine
(I. quamoclit)
Cypress Vine is a smooth, twining annual with leaves that are divided into numerous linear segments. Preferred habitat is roadsides, fence rows and waste places. It was originally introduced to us from tropical America as a trellis and garden flower, but for years it escaped and no effort was made (or can be made) to retrieve it. It's not considered a pest, but it would need a little attention should it take a liking to the vegetable garden and starts twining around okra and staked beans. The white variety is considered rare, but one wouldn't get that impression in the Escambia region as it seems to go wherever a railroad track will let it go. Again, not a problem; simply pull it by the roots and toss it aside.

Ivy-Leaf Morning Glory
(I. hederacea)

Coastal Morning Glory
(I. trichocarpa)
Ivy-Leaf Morning Glory is a hairy vine with three-lobed leaves, thus the name. The flower is blue (photographs purple), funnel-shaped with a white throat. The flower opens blue but fades to rose-purple by end of day. Preferred habitat is fields and waste places and disturbed areas. The plant is an introduction from tropical America and is often a troublesome weed. Coastal Morning Glory is also an intro-
duction from tropical America. . The leaf is nearly oval with a cordate base (heart-
shaped). The flowers are five lobed, funnel shaped and usually pink or purple. Pre-
ferred habitat is roadsides and the margin of ponds, sloughs and damp ditches. The plant is not considered invasive. Flowers occur from July to October

Arrow-Leaf Morning Glory
(I. sagittata)

Common Morning Glory
(I. purpurea)

Arrow-Leaf Morning Glory is also known as Glades Morning Glory. Its a climbing vine with smooth stems and pink or bright purple flowers. The leaves resemble an arrow, which Latin is sagitta, thus the name. This particular morning glory is closely related to I. pandurata. Preferred habitat is sandy soil, moist roadsides and brackish marshes. Flowers occur from spring to autumn.

Common Morning Glory is an annual stem; also known as Purple Morning Glory. This plant has heart-shaped leaves. The flowers appear in the leaf axil as a solitary or cluster of several. Its calyx is five lobed with linear segments. The corolla is bell shaped and may be purple, pink or white. Preferred habitat is fields, roadsides, fence rows, thickets and waste sites. This climber is often used as a trellis vine and is an excellent choice for enhancing an otherwise drab fence or wall. Flowering occurs from July to September.


 Railroad Vine
(Ipomoea pes-caprae)

  Hedge Bindweed
(Calystegia sepium)


 Blue Morning Glory
(C. arvensis)

Jacquemontia Bindweed
(Jacquemontia tamnifolia)


 Stylisma Morning Glory
(Stylisma humistrata)

Gopher Potato
(I. pandurata)


Railroad Vine is a tough nut to crack. This vine loves the beach, creeping over high dunes to have a peek at the ocean. This morning glory is also known as Beach Morning Glory and closely related to the true Beach Morning Glory, I. stolonifera. The leaves are thick and leathery (coriaceous), smooth and sometimes three-lobed. Railroad Vine is an occasional vine of coastal dunes of Florida and other south-
eastern shorelines. Flowering occurs throughout the summer and into autumn.

Hedge Bindweed is a prostrate or climbing smooth to hairy perennial. The leaves are triangular in form with a base that is more or less arrowhead. Preferred habitat is roadsides, ditches, disturbed and waste sites. The term "bindweed" is aptly applied to this plant as it wraps itself around the host plant, blocking sunlight, and doing irreparable damage to its host. Flowering occurs from May to August. The roots of this plant are reported to be poisonous.

Blue Morning Glory is closely related to the Hedge Bindweed. The primary difference is the color and habitat. This morning glory has smaller flowers and leaves, whiteout bracts supporting the flower and forms thick mats on the ground, especially where large boulders are present. Flowering occurs from July to October. Preferred habitat is fields, steep embankments and disturbed areas.

Jacquemontia Bindweed is an extremely hairy annual vine. Its leaves are alternate on the stem, ovate in form, slightly bent at the tip with sides less than equal. Leaf base is heart-shaped and attached to the stem between the lobes. Flowering occurs from June to December in ditches, waste sites, fields, lawns and gardens. Like the Cypress Vine, this plant can swamp a vegetable garden in a couple of weeks. It has a definite liking for cultivated fields of corn and cotton.

Stylisma is a tiny vine in stature but massive when it comes to forming dense colonies in ditches and along fence rows. The flowers occur throughout the summer and are presented in white and pink. Its leaf is small, narrow and has no leaf stalk. Its preferred habitat is dry sandy open woods, fence rows, roadside ditches and brackish marshes near seashore.

Gopher Potato is also known as Man-of-the-Earth, Wild Potato Vine and Man-Root. This is a prostrate to climbing, smooth to hairy perennial with an enlarged root. Flowering occurs from May to August at roadsides, fields, woods, fence rows, thickets and waste areas. This morning glory is the forerunner to the domestic sweet potato. In colonial times settlers and Indians alike dug the large tubers as an important food stuff. Even today, it is not unusual to find tubers deep in the ground that may weigh upwards to 25 pounds. Gopher Potato is closely related to the tropical sweet potato, I. botatas.


Starglory Morning Glory
(I. coccinea)
Starglory is also known as Red Morning Glory and Scarlet Starglory. The plant is a prostrate or climbing annual. Its leaves are oval to heart shaped with slightly toothed margins. Flowers occur from August to December on fence rows, waste sites and at roadside. These tiny flowers, less than 1/2 inch across are often white to yellow in the throat. They give a welcome relief to an otherwise drab autumn at a time when the Starglory is about the only thing left blooming in the Escambia region.

Riverside Morning Glory is the same species as the Common Morning Glory, which presents itself as purple, rose or white. This is by far the largest morning
glory to reside in the Escambia region. Its
blossom is more than six inches in diameter and the fused petals are so thin and sensitive as to collapse under the weight of a bee or a drop of rain. Considered rare in the Escambia.

Riverside Morning Glory
(I. purpurea)
These are found along the banks of the Escambia and its tributaries in small colonies throughout the coastal flood plain of Escambia Florida and Alabama. Flowering occurs in mid-spring to early summer. Its preferred habitat is fresh water stream banks and the margin of bogs and swamps.

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